Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Combating the dangers of illegal abortion

By JAMES MAHLOKWANE Time of article published Jun 24, 2019

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Pretoria - Change Drivers wants to open society’s eyes to the danger of illegal abortions that continue to take place, despite abortion being legalised in South Africa in 1996.

The initiative forms part of the Sexual and Reproductive Health For Your Information campaign to be activated across the country this week.

The organisation is due to engage various communities and stakeholders about the inaccessibility of safe and high-quality abortion services in the country.

Phathuxolo Ndzimande is co-ordinating a stakeholder engagement to take place in the Atteridgeville Council Chambers today. It’s part of the broader engagement building up to the official imbizo scheduled for June27 in Braamfontein.

Ndzimande said: “We’ll be hosting all stakeholders like our community churches, taxi associations, local clinics and youth led organisations.

“We’re happy about this because abortion is a very sensitive issue and we need to keep informed about it, and what is currently developing in our communities.”

Project liaison officer Kanyisa Booi said it was important to discuss illegal abortions because there were a host of barriers - from cost to cultural norms and stigma - to service provider attitudes that prevented young women from accessing timely life-saving, life-enhancing abortion and post- abortion care.

Booi said: “A lot of the time, it comes down to women finding out late that they’re pregnant. We’ll be talking about the importance of early testing and create awareness about that. We’ve noticed that because abortion is legal, some women find out after 12 weeks that they’re pregnant, and at that stage there’ll be questions asked before an abortion is performed; and in fear of these questions, many have found themselves using fake and bogus women’s clinics. Illegal abortion is higher during times when the procedure is supposed to be surgical.

“Access to this kind of health care is a problem that needs to be addressed. There’s a stigma about public health care, but at the same time there are some women complaining that they’ve been turned away or judged when trying to have an abortion. So we’ll find out from the Human Rights Commission what action these women can take to protect and fight for their rights in such cases.

“We’ve invited numerous organisations and the Department of Health, and we’re hoping that tough and constructive questions will be asked, to find solutions to these problems.”

Pretoria News

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