The Realization of Children’s Rights to Participate in Selected Medical Decisions in South Africa
Authors Hanneretha Kruger
Affiliations: Professor of Private Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 135 Number 1, May 2018, p. 73 – 100
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, read with other relevant provisions of the Convention, allows for three levels of participation by children in medical decision-making: the right of all children to be informed (level 1), the right of all children capable of forming their own views to express those views (level 2), and the right of children capable of forming their own views to have the expressed views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity (level 3). (The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child contains a similar provision in art 7.) This article examines the realization of this right in the context of selected medical decisions in South Africa. Consent to medical treatment and operations and termination of pregnancy are considered. The level of participation afforded to children in each of these cases is determined and recommendations are made for further enhancing the realization of art 12 in the context of medical decision-making in South Africa.