South Africa: It’s Time to End the Stigma and Silence Around Abortion

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Africa: It's Time to End the Stigma and Silence Around Abortion

Sep 28, 2017
By Marion Stevens

International Safe Abortion Day - celebrated every year on September 28 - marks a woman's fundamental reproductive right to access safe, legal abortion. For many women all over the world, this right, along with the right to access modern contraception, is essential for their maternal health, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and well-being. It allows women and couples the right to decide freely if and when to have children.

Especially for the many women who have unsupportable pregnancies, abortion is a vital yet normal medical procedure during their reproductive lives. When performed properly, abortion procedures are safe and can saves women's lives. However, unlike other reproductive health services, abortion is enveloped by stigma and silence, which leads to many women in South Africa lacking access to this crucial health service.

Continued at source: All Africa: http://allafrica.com/stories/201709280584.html

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South Africa: No Fetus Scan, No Abortion. Really?

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South Africa: No Fetus Scan, No Abortion. Really?

Aug 8, 2017

Draft bill would, for instance, undo clauses in SA law that provide for abortions in some cases of extreme birth defects.

A proposed amendment to the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act would require that anyone seeking an abortion first undergo an ultrasound scan. In its draft bill, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) argues making this type of scan mandatory for abortion seekers will assist people to make "an informed choice".

Continued at source: All Africa: http://allafrica.com/stories/201708080318.html

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Abortion Is Legal in South Africa — But Illegal Clinics Are Thriving. Why?

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Abortion Is Legal in South Africa — But Illegal Clinics Are Thriving. Why?

“Legalizing abortion is one thing, but ensuring safe abortion is accessible can be quite another.”

Sian Ferguson
April 3, 2017

A faded poster with the word ‘ABORTION’ in purple capital letters is plastered on a lamppost near my house in Grahamstown, South Africa. At the bottom of the poster, a phone number is printed in large font. Similar posters can be spotted in cities like Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. It might be on an electricity box in a small town, or on the side of a traffic light in a coastal area. The posters live all over South Africa — in fact, they’re so ubiquitous I rarely noticed them until a foreign friend mentioned them.

“Are these clinics legal?” she asked. “Because, I mean, abortion is legal here, right?”

Yes, abortion is legal here. The 1996 Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act allows trained doctors, midwives, and nurses to perform abortions on demand up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy, and for doctors to perform abortions thereafter under certain circumstances. The act was amended in 2003 to allow any health facility with a 24-hour maternity service to offer first trimester abortion services. South Africans are — at least theoretically — able to obtain abortions for free from public facilities.

Continued at link: The Development Set: https://thedevelopmentset.com/abortion-in-south-africa-is-legal-but-half-are-done-illegally-why-969ffcb7dfea

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South Africa: Less than 7% of health facilities nationwide offer abortions – Amnesty International

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Less than 7% of health facilities nationwide offer abortions - Amnesty International
14 Feb 2017
Ina Skosana

In some provinces, safe, free abortions may only be provided at about 260 public facilities.

Less than 7% of the country's 3 880 health facilities provide abortions, according to recent research by the global human rights organisation, Amnesty International.

The health department has a human rights obligation to guarantee women access to abortion services, but isn’t doing enough to implement the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, found a briefing report released in February.

Continued at source: Bhekisisa: http://bhekisisa.org/article/2017-02-14-00-only-260-health-facilities-nationwide-offer-abortions-amnesty-international

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South Africa: Abortion, 20 years on: Still contested, still needed

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Abortion, 20 years on: Still contested, still needed

by Rebecca Davis, South Africa
01 Feb 2017

This week marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, one of the world’s most liberal abortion laws. As a new report shows, though, the distance between what the law envisages and what is happening in reality is wide – to the point where government may be in violation of certain international human rights instruments. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Tuesday, February 1 was what anti-abortion campaigners call “The National Day of Repentance”. The date is considered significant because it was on February 1, 1997 that South Africa implemented the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA), allowing abortion on demand till the 12th week and with certain conditions till the 20th week.

It’s a dark day for those who would like to see abortion done away with, despite the fact that the law is estimated to have reduced abortion-related deaths and injuries by 90%. But the anniversary also provides scant opportunity for celebration among those in favour of reproductive rights, due to the ongoing failure to implement the legislation as envisaged.

[continued at link]
Source, Daily Maverick: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-02-01-abortion-20-years-on-still-contested-still-needed/#.WJNfCrqXDMg

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Trump’s global gag rule puts safe abortion in jeopardy

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Trump’s global gag rule puts safe abortion in jeopardy
Feb 1, 2017

In his first week as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has demonstrated a callous disregard for women’s rights by reinstating and extending the so-called global gag rule, a policy which will prevent all organisations receiving US foreign aid for health from including abortion referrals or information within their programmes. Not only have similar policies proved ineffective in reducing abortions in the past, the Global Gag Rule has been shown to increase the number of unsafe abortions because it reduces access to a whole range of family planning services.

Trump´s version of the global gag rule expands the policy to all global US health funding, including HIV/AIDS or maternal health. In southern Africa, where HIV-related illnesses and unsafe abortions are a major driver of pregnancy-related deaths. Health experts, including aid agency, Doctors without Borders, warn that thousands of lives are at risk.

[continued at link]
Source, Thought Leader/Amnesty International: http://thoughtleader.co.za/amnestyinternational/2017/02/01/on-guard-against-the-global-gag-rule-barriers-to-safe-abortion/

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Africa: ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights should always be fought for’

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‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights should always be fought for’

MARION STEVENS 31 Jan 2017 (South Africa)

It is men who are critical of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, say eminent African women at the African Leaders’ Summit on Safe Legal Abortion in Addis Ababa, where a South African delegation is championing the issue of sexual and reproductive rights.

This past week I was in Addis Abba at the African Leaders’ Summit on Safe Legal Abortion. In the room were an impressive group who were senators, judges, ambassadors, ministers of health, Members of Parliament, technical advisors, special rapporteurs, commissioners, special envoys, academics, activists and health providers who came from all corners of our continent. Our own Minister Bathabile Dlamini had been invited to the meeting, but could not attend because of commitments in South Africa.
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Africa is rising and Africa is leading – just read this statement from leaders on the African continent:
"The Africa Leaders’ Declaration on Safe, Legal Abortion as a Human Right"

[continued at link]
Source, Daily Maverick: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2017-01-31-sexual-and-reproductive-rights-should-always-be-fought-for/#.WJCyTLqXDMg

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South Africa: Women and girls risk unsafe abortions after being denied legal services

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South Africa: Women and girls risk unsafe abortions after being denied legal services
31 January 2017, 19:28 UTC

Women and girls risk unsafe abortions that can lead to serious health complications, and even death, due to persistent barriers to legal abortion services, according to research by Amnesty International and the Women’s Health Research Unit of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

The briefing published today highlights how despite South Africa having one of the world’s most progressive legal frameworks for abortion, many women and girls - especially those in the poorest and most marginalized communities - struggle to access safe abortion services. A key barrier is the failure of the government to regulate the practice of ‘conscientious objection’ through which health professionals can refuse to provide abortion services.

[continued at link]
Source, Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/01/south-africa-women-and-girls-risk-unsafe-abortions-after-being-denied-legal-services/

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