As you walk around the streets of Durban it is impossible not to notice street-pole posters advertising “free and cheap” abortions.
Posters advertising “cheap abortion, one day, no pain” are common and with the increase in teenage pregnancy many don’t struggle for business.
Communication and marketing head of Marie Stopes South Africa (MSSA), Andrea Thompson said: “A market for illegal and unsafe abortion providers has been created and flyers advertising 'safe, pain-freer, quick and cheap abortions' litter the streets.
“These illegal abortion providers target disadvantaged, vulnerable women and put their lives at risk.”
Coastal Weekly reporter contacted one of the clinics to find out how it operates and a staff member, who did not want to be identified, said: “We do the job in one day by giving them liquid medication to drink, which will terminate the baby. It makes the job difficult when you are four months pregnant so that's why we charge a higher price.”
Thompson said unsafe terminations are more likely to lead to hemorrhaging, septicaemia, organ damage, tetanus, sterility, and even death and varying methods, including drinking mixtures and inserting objects or instruments into the womb.
“Early warning signs of incomplete and unsafe terminations are fever, shivering, smelly discharge, haemorrhaging, lower extreme abdominal pain, high temperature and anaemia.” MSSA sees the consequences of illegal abortions in their clinics every day and run educational programmes and outreach projects to educate women on their rights to access safe and legal termination of pregnancy.
She advises women seeking a pregnancy termination to look for a brand like Marie Stopes or ask at the Department of Health about approved clinics.
“Look for a landline number and not just a cellphone number and inquire about the practitioner’s after-hours contact details in case of emergency.
“They [pregnant woman] must also get counselling, which will provide them with all the information.
“Patients should not pay until they are satisfied with the service and get a receipt and make sure the facility is at a fixed address and not on a street corner.”
eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, Thulani Mbatha said: “The municipality is aware of the issue as this has been an ongoing problem for years.
“The safe abortion stickers are removed by the Expanded Public Works Programme staff, but find that a day after removal they are put up again.
“The municipality previously conducted joint operations with Metro Police and the SAPS to arrest bogus doctors conducting illegal abortions.
“Awareness campaigns are conducted to educate the public about the dangers of using bogus doctors. It is very difficult to establish who the culprits are as they employ ‘runners’ who work for them.”
Source: News24, South Africa