This year, South Africa celebrates 20 years since the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed making access to safe abortion care the right of any female bodied person up to the 20th week of pregnancy. That being said, we still see an estimated 52% of abortions being done in the informal market. Why? Here are the most common reasons:
- Women do not know where else to go
- Women do not know that abortion is legal in South Africa (or the limits around the act if they do know)
- Women fear judgment and stigmatisation by their communities
- Women have fears about confidentiality
- Women do not know who is safe and who is not
In #MTVShugaDS, we see Khensani faced with an unsupportable pregnancy and make the decision to terminate her pregnancy- unfortunately she ends up in the hands of an unsafe provider. This reminds us again that women need to be armed with the right information to protect themselves against illegal termination providers. Knowing this could have helped Khensani.
How do I know if a provider is safe or not?
A safe abortion provider…
- Offers safe abortion care within the constraints of the law (only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy)
- Operate inside of designated hospitals, clinics or centres
- Can provide their Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) or South African Nursing Council (SANC) registration number
- Performs physical examinations, take a medical history or provide a test/scan to confirm the stage of the pregnancy
- Follow infection prevention requirements, such as wearing latex gloves, having running water and clean linen and having separate bins for medical waste disposal;
- Provide you with a consultation that includes all of your pregnancy options, including information about a future contraceptive method
- Arranges follow up appointments and/or contact information in case of questions or concerns
An unsafe abortion provider…
- Sells you medical abortion tablets over the Internet without the required clinical precautions
- Offers to meet you at a street corner, parking lot or other non-clinical environment with medication
- Just has a mobile number and cannot provide official contact details
Read more about the dangers of illegal abortions and how to know the difference between legal and illegal providers. You can also contact Marie Stopes online or on 080 011 7785 for more information or to make an appointment.