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The South African Parliament is considering a bill to ban corporal punishment. Members of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus who support corporal punishment have objected to the ban and postponed deliberations on the corporal punishment provision of the bill. The remainder of the bill, which includes several excellent protections for South African children, is near passage — but the corporal punishment provision is in danger of being left behind.

Several organizations worldwide (including Stop the Rod, a religious organization on the right side of this issue, and the Global Initative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children) are leading an email campaign to urge the Parliament to resume deliberations and pass the corporal punishment ban. In so doing, South Africa would become the twentieth nation to ban this discredited practice.

Please personalize the text below and email to the Department of Social Development Committee at michaelf AT


Dear Department of Social Development,

Please allow deliberations to go forward on the proposed law to ban beating children. Spanking has been shown to lead to ten negative outcomes, including increased aggression, depression, and the greater likelihood that the spanked child will abuse his or her own children (see

Recent research in the Journal of Family Psychology (Parental Corporal Punishment Predicts Behavior Problems in Early Childhood) confirms earlier research that refraining from hitting children improves their behavior and mental health.

Children deserve to reap the benefits of the best of our knowledge. That knowledge clearly points us all to the abandonment of violent parenting and the adoption of the many alternative forms of discipline shown to be more effective and less harmful. By enacting this legislation, South Africa will take a rightful place in global moral leadership.

(your name)

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Dale McGowan is chief content officer of OnlySky, author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies, and founder of Foundation Beyond Belief (now GO Humanity). He holds a...