Abortion providers — the custodians of reproductive justice in South Africa

Abortion providers — the custodians of reproductive justice in South Africa

Marion Stevens
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.

Continued: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2019-03-13-abortion-providers-the-custodians-of-reproductive-justice-in-south-africa/

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Let’s call ‘conscientious objection’ by its name: Obstruction of access to care and abortion in South Africa

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”.

Continued: http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/lets-call-conscientious-objection-by-its-name-obstruction-of-access-to-care-and-abortion-in-south-africa/

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South Africa – The Gospel of Shame: How Christian groups thwart the right to abortion

The Gospel of Shame: How Christian groups thwart the right to abortion

21 Sep 2018
Pontsho Pilane

Are faith-based NGOs breaking the law when they refuse to give women information on where to terminate their pregnancies?

Lerato Molefe stares blankly at the sign erected in the yard in front of her. Her eyes are fixed on the blue silhouette drawing of two women with bulging bellies.

“FREE pregnancy test” ... “Information on OPTIONS”, the sign reads.

Continued: https://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-09-21-00-the-gospel-of-shame-how-christian-groups-thwart-the-right-to-abortion-south-africa

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Unconscionable: Health workers’ right to refuse abortions vs women’s right to choose

Unconscionable: Health workers' right to refuse abortions vs women's right to choose
When religion trumps science in medicine, women's bodies and Constitutional rights may be caught in the crossfire.

21 Jun 2018
Marion Stevens, Mandi Mudarikwa

South Africa‘s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act legalises voluntary abortion at different stages of pregnancy. Although viewed as a generally liberal law, the Act has not effectively enabled broad and consistent access for women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

One of the reasons has been some health providers’ and facilities’ refusal to treat women who need abortion care.

Continued: http://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-06-21-00-unconscionable-a-doctors-right-to-refuse-abortions-versus-a-womens-right-to-choose

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

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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The Discussion on Conscientious Objection

The Discussion on Conscientious Objection

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Nomtika

All roads led to Uruguay last week, between July 31st and August 4th, as 5 SRJC members took to Montevideo for the International Convention on Conscientious Objection.

The meeting, co-hosted by Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (MYSU) and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), featured policymakers, academics, health professionals, legal experts, and feminist activists who collectively established that objecting to the provision of voluntary abortion services on religious or moral grounds, is a chief barrier to safe abortion and endangers the lives of women.

Continued at source: Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition: http://srjc.org.za/2017/08/10/the-discussion-on-conscientious-objection/

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

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

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

‘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.
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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