Abortion rate doubles among under-18s

The number of women younger than 18 having abortions at state medical facilities has more than doubled since 2001, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Wednesday.

"There has been an increasing trend of termination of pregnancies requested by persons under the age of 18, ranging from 4 423 termination of pregnancies in 2001, to 9 895 termination of pregnancies in 2006," she said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.

In terms of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, only the consent of the pregnant woman was required for an abortion to be performed.

"In the case of a minor, the health care provider (medical practitioner or registered midwife) shall advise such minor to consult her parents, guardian, family members or friends before the pregnancy is terminated."

However, the act provided "that the termination of the pregnancy shall not be denied because such minor chooses not to consult them", she said. - Sapa