South Africa – Fake abortion providers are online too. Here’s how to spot them

By Mohale Moloi and Yolanda Mdzeke
April 13, 2022
Video: 3:22 minutes

Abortion has been legal in South Africa for
more than 25 years. Yet illegal providers continue to put people’s lives at
risk. Dubious providers can exploit platforms like Google Search and Facebook
to advertise their services. Tshinondiwa Ramaite from the reproductive health
organisation, Ipas, explains how to spot ads from a bogus clinic.


South Africa: One Second-Trimester Public Abortion Facility in the Entire Eastern Cape Is Not Good Enough

1 APRIL 2022
By Sibusisiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa and Thokozile Mtsolongo

Second-trimester abortions, which occur between the beginning of the 13th and the end of the 20th week of pregnancy, are difficult to access in the public sector. This is mainly due to the lack of designated abortion facilities and the unavailability of abortion providers to provide the service.

Based on our work in the Eastern Cape, we found that these issues prevent women from accessing a second-trimester abortion in the public health system. Out of sheer desperation, some vulnerable women carrying unwanted pregnancies may resort to unsafe and illegal abortion providers.


South Africa: Abortion Access in Eastern Cape Falls Far Short

11 MARCH 2022
By Khanyisa Mapipa, Sibusisiwe Ndlela and Thokozile Mtsolongo

Following the publication of an article by GroundUp News on 21 October 2021, titled "Pregnant Women queue all night outside abortion clinic", we followed up to determine the state of abortion services offered by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

We visited Mthatha Gateway Clinic (the clinic mentioned in the GroundUp article), spoke to a number of women seeking abortion services at the clinic, and we called facilities designated by the provincial health department as abortion service providers to verify that these services are, in fact, provided.


South Africa: Open Letter – It Takes More Than a March to Remedy Systemic Challenges to Abortion Access

4 MARCH 2022
By Sibusisiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa and Thokozile Mtsolongo

The below is an open letter addressed to South Africa's Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo written by Sibusiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa and Thokozile Mtsolongo, all of public interest law centre SECTION27.

Dear Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo
Your "Anti-Unsafe Termination of Pregnancy" march held on 17 February 2022 in Rustenburg, North West refers.

A march, in and of itself, cannot eliminate barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing safe abortions in the public health system. This is why we see this march, led by someone who has the power to eliminate many of those barriers, as a disingenuous attempt by the Department of Health to cover its failure to make meaningful steps towards the realisation of women's and girls' right to abortion.


In Memoriam – Eddie Mhlanga: a doctor and a friend with the biggest smile and the warmest heart in the world

by Marge Berer
ICWRSA Newsletter
11 February 2022

It is with great sadness that we report that Eddie Mhlanga, professor, policymaker, obstetrician-gynaecologist, abortion provider, passionate advocate for public health and women’s health and rights, and much loved colleague, died on 5 February 2022 after a short illness. He was only age 68. 

Here are some excerpts from published articles by and about him, about his professional life and his enormous contributions to women’s health care in South Africa. 


19 States Ignore Global Evidence and Move to Block Access to Abortion Pills

Despite a wealth of research that shows medical abortion at home is effective, safe, acceptable and improves access to care, 19 U.S. states are introducing laws to block access to the medication.

by SARAH SHAW, Ms. Magazine

At the end of 2021, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would permanently ease federal restrictions on abortion pills. They’re allowing these drugs to be sent by mail, after a medical consultation by phone rather than requiring an in-person visit. The change has been welcomed by healthcare providers who point to the importance of providing women with safe methods in the fight to eliminate unsafe abortion and related deaths and injury.

Along with the need to overcome obstacles created by COVID-19, so that women can safely exercise their right to choose even during the pandemic, supporters also point to the sharp increase in gender-based violence during the pandemic—with many women unable to leave their homes—as another reason why medical abortion at home is so important.


How a Young Woman’s Death Led Me to Fight for Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for All

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini shares why he is an activist for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

By Dr Melusi Dhlamini
December 10, 2021

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini is a sexual and reproductive health care provider in South Africa and was named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans in 2020.

I was born in the small rural town of Sannieshof, South Africa, in February 1988. I spent most of my early life, until the year I matriculated, between my birth town and Rustenburg.

Raised by my mother and aunt, I became a social justice activist whose values are rooted in intersectional feminism and what it aims to achieve. My activism is underpinned by a desire for gender equality and a world in which your gender and its various expressions; race; and social and economic standing do not negatively affect you. And I carry this into my work every day as a sexual and reproductive health care provider.


South Africa – Constitutional Court hearing on fetal burial after miscarriage

NOVEMBER 12, 2021
International Campaign for Safe Abortion

A proposal by representatives of two anti-abortion groups and the Catholic Church has made its way up the court system in South Africa to the Constitutional Court and had it first hearing on 4 November 2021 by eight justices in an initial a four-hour hearing. 

The issue was whether, after a miscarriage at any point less than 26 weeks of pregnancy, the “parents of an unborn child” should have the right, though not the obligation, to bury the fetal remains, including informally (e.g. in their own garden). As it stands, the law itself does not appear to prohibit this, but in line with BADRA, the official regulations for data collection on births and deaths, it is not allowed. After all such miscarriages, the fetal remains must be incinerated in the hospital.


South Africa – Pregnant women queue all night outside abortion clinic

“Poor treatment like this forces some of the women to go for illegal abortions”

21 October 2021
By Mkhuseli Sizani and Hoseya Jubase

Pregnant women are sleeping outside the Mthatha Gateway Clinic in the hope of getting an appointment for an abortion.

On Monday morning at about 5:30am we caught up with some of the women who had slept outside the clinic on pieces of planks and cardboard, in icy weather. Some of the women woke up and relieved themselves next to the wall in full view of everyone. Others tried to warm themselves in the sun.


South Africa – Call to remove stigma surrounding abortions for safe, legal procedure

By Goitsemang Tlhabye
Oct 1, 2021

Pretoria - Healthcare stakeholders have called on communities to rid themselves of the stigma that has continued to inhibit women’s access to safe and legal abortions.

Abortion consultant with Ipas South Africa, Dr Makgoale Magwentshu, also a senior capacity-building and policy adviser for sexual and reproductive health, said the stigma surrounding abortions had continued to act as a barrier to ensuring women had access to safe and legal abortions.