Challenges for achieving sexual and reproductive justice in South Africa
2 May, 2019
Written by Marion Stevens, Director, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Reproductive Justice is defined by three principles: The right to have child; the right not to have a child; and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments.
Twenty years after the evolution of the concept in the United States, the government of South Africa incorporated the concept of reproductive justice into its thinking. In 2014 the concept was introduced and spoken about locally and globally by the Department of Social Development (DSD)1,which houses the National Population Unit. DSD has incorporated the principles of reproductive justice, and taken the concept of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) further.
Abortion providers — the custodians of reproductive justice in South Africa
13 March 2019
Sunday 10 March marked Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. These are men and women providing a service many health professionals shun. In South Africa, despite a progressive law, abortion providers continue to face stigma and difficult working conditions.
On 10 March 1993 Dr David Gunn was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in Florida in the United States (See Appendix below annotating assassinations and violence). Three years later, to honour his life and work, 10 March became the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.
Let’s call ‘conscientious objection’ by its name: Obstruction of access to care and abortion in South Africa
Satang Nabaneh, Marion Stevens and Lucia Berro Pizzarossa
24th October 2018
South Africa has one of the most liberal laws on abortion and constitutionally recognizes reproductive rights as human rights. However, data shows important difficulties translating the legal norms into effective access to services. One of the key challenges is physicians’ refusal to perform abortions invoking an “ad hoc, unregulated and at times incorrect” conscientious objection. The Department of Health is now spearheading a reform of the abortion guidelines aiming to bring them in line with human rights standards and reframing the refusal as “obstruction of access to care”.
#MyBodyMyChoice: The Right To Safe Abortion Is Protected By Law
On Oct 1, 2018
Cries of “my body, my choice”, “my vagina my choice” and “phansi unsafe abortions” rang in the air in the name of the campaign #MyBodyMyChoice. A group of people marched from Theatre Park in Braamfontein to Newtown Park in the name of access to quality reproductive healthcare services on Friday. There, an event featuring speeches from experts in the field, panel discussions, personal stories of women, and a musical performance was staged. Friday September 28 also marked International Safe Abortion Day.
The aim of the digital campaign #MyBodyMyChoice is to break the silence around abortion by connecting key audiences and create conversations around sexual and reproductive health and rights and abortion. It also aimed to emphasise that abortion is legal in South Africa and inform women about their rights and how to realise them.
Anti-Choice Culture Is Allowed To Flourish At UCT. Why?
Aug 22, 2018
I am not one to write open letters, but I am enraged. I am very tired but unfortunately for “racist cishetero patriarchal Christian torture” not tired enough (yet) to take action. I am tired of the University of Cape Town (UCT), particularly the Faculty of Health Sciences, taking ethically weak stances on issues that they are meant to be at the forefront of advocating for, writes TEMWA-DANGO MWAMBENE.
I have been at UCT for four years and I remember the then vice-chancellor Dr Max Price welcoming us on the first year MBChB registration day and speaking about how UCT is a place for rigorous academic debate and contrasting views and as an example invited us to participate in the upcoming ‘Israeli-Apartheid’ week. A week, if UCT had any ethical integrity, that should rather be dedicated to collective initiatives around awareness and actions in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle. But this open letter is not about UCT’s inability to take a pro-Palestine position but about abortions.
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
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.
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Source, Daily Maverick: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-02-01-abortion-20-years-on-still-contested-still-needed/#.WJNfCrqXDMg
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/