When Karen*, aged 43, discovered she was pregnant, it was a massive shock. Her two kids were already out of the house, and with nappies, schooling and the teen years behind her, she simply couldn’t imagine raising another child – nor could she afford to. Her financial situation simply didn’t allow for another baby.
Anxious and confused, she confided in her neighbour, who also happened to be a close friend. Her friend said she’d seen adverts at the taxi rank for a herbalist who offered pain-free abortion services. She assured Karen that he was reputable, and said she’d get his phone number so that the termination could be arranged.
Can a pain-free abortion be as safe as it seems?
A few days later, after making an appointment over the phone, Karen went to see the herbalist. She expected to be examined and given a herbal remedy. Instead, the man simply gave her two tablets, and said that they would terminate the pregnancy. He didn’t check that she really was pregnant or how far along she was; nor did he seem to be a legitimate herbalist.
Even though Karen had expected to be given something herbal instead of medication, she took the tablets anyway. If her friend had recommended this herbalist, surely he was legit…?
Within two hours, Karen was experiencing terrible cramps in her stomach, accompanied by bleeding, which went on for a few hours. And then, it was over. Could it be so simple, she wondered? Even though it hadn’t been a pain-free abortion as promised, it seemed too easy.
Cheap or pain-free abortions are often too good to be true
Two weeks after she’d taken the pills, Karen still wasn’t feeling herself. Could it be that the pills hadn’t worked? She took another pregnancy test and her fears were confirmed: all the pain, expense and hassle hadn’t been worth it. She was still pregnant. That’s when she decided that she had to find a safe and legitimate abortion provider.
The simplest way to find a legal, safe abortion
South Africa has some of the most liberal sexual and reproductive health laws in the world, empowering women to take control of their fertility and their reproductive choices. It also gives women access to safe, legal sexual and reproductive health information and services, including abortion. That’s right: abortion is legal in South Africa, so you have no reason to use a dodgy, illegal abortion service.
The only way to prevent dangerous abortion procedures is by educating yourself, and all the women in your life, about safe terminations and the choices available to women in South Africa. Ask yourself: does every woman in your life know about the dangers of illegal abortions? If not, it’s time to speak up.
To find a dependable, legal abortion provider, look for:
- A trusted name or brand, like Marie Stopes or any clinic approved by the Health Professions Counsel of South Africa (HPCSA) or the Department of Health.
- A landline telephone number, not just a cell phone number.
- A fixed address in clinical surroundings – NOT a dodgy, unsterile or unclean ‘office’, or a meeting spot on a street corner or in a private flat or house.
Need trustworthy help? Make a booking online
Whether you want to have a safe termination or you’d like advice, guidance or a caring, professional ear, we can help. Make an appointment online at your nearest Marie Stopes centre, and we’ll provide confidential sexual healthcare services in a safe, judgement-free environment.