By the age of 17, Sindi* had had three legal abortions – two within six months and a third a year later. She is the face of a shocking trend sweeping through the nation’s youth – using abortions as a form of contraception.
Some say it’s easier than accessing contraceptives at community clinics and hospitals, while others believe myths that contraceptives will make them sick or fat, and opt not to use them.
Sindi was 16 when she had her first abortion. Too young to raise a child and impregnated after a one-night stand, she decided to abort the baby. Six months later, she fell pregnant again.
She blamed immaturity, forgetfulness and stupidity for the decisions she made then.
“It was a wild time in my life.
“I was drinking and partying with people a lot older than me and I suppose I didn’t give much thought to the consequences of my actions.”
Sindi, now 24, admitted she had become lax in practising safe sex with her boyfriend after her first abortion. This was performed when she was 17 after she was told by “cold, semi-aggressive and judgmental” nurses that she would not be able to conceive again after the procedure.
She was caught off guard 18 months later when she discovered she was pregnant again.
Another woman, who had two abortions in a year, said: “I didn’t think it was a problem. In retrospect, I’m ashamed of myself.”
More than 68 000 abortions were performed on girls under 18 at state clinics between 1997 and 2008. This figure is almost 10 percent of the number – 702 354 – of abortions performed on women over 18.
* Not her real name - The Star