South Africa – Unsafe abortions continue to proliferate due to a lack of knowledge, stigma and nurses’ attitudes

Noxolo Majavu
28 Sep 2023

Despite safe medical abortion services being offered for free in public health facilities, the number of backdoor abortions being performed, especially on teenagers, is increasingly escalating as bogus doctors profit from the desperation of young women.

The scarcity of nurses and skill shortages, along with the lack of knowledge and the stigma around abortion, are among the reasons young people still opt for terminating pregnancies through illegal abortions at backdoor clinics.


South Africa – ‘It was just another abortion’

June 29, 2023
Nicola Daniels

While sitting and queuing for hours to have a legal abortion, she felt scared and confused. Some girls were crying, some left the facility because they felt alone, and the staff didn’t care about their feelings or stories.

It was “just another abortion”.

This was the experience of a young woman who underwent an abortion at a local hospital this year. She asked to remain anonymous for her safety.


South Africa – TMH now offers reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion services

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy guidelines estimated at least 50% of all abortions were still done by informal, illegal and unsafe providers.

March 17, 2023
Fanie Mthupha 

Finally, the Tambo Memorial Hospital boasts a Women’s Health Clinic after not having had the service for decades.

The newly opened clinic, to be officially launched today, is located within the institution, and offers, among other things, family planning, choice on termination of pregnancy (CTOP) services and post-termination of pregnancy care services, which include counselling by a psychologist or social worker to ensure clients cope with post-termination issues.


South Africa – Eastern Cape man caught selling abortion pills sentenced

Published Dec 9, 2022

Cape Town – An Eastern Cape man arrested after selling abortion pills to community members has been sentenced in the East London Magistrate’s Court.

Julius Kintu, 36, was convicted on charges of contravening the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act.


South Africa – The challenges of accessing abortion clinics

Published Oct 19, 2022

Johannesburg - Pregnancy can be an exhilarating time for many while for others, it sinks them deep into depression, with the children at times unwanted.

For those women who feel they are not ready for the responsibility that comes with parenting, abortion becomes the only option or at times, the only solution.


Telemedicine increases access to safe abortion care


Ground-breaking research into accessing safe abortion services in South Africa has revealed that telemedicine abortion is safe and effective, and a viable alternative to the conventional medical procedure, especially for women in under-resourced settings.

Scientists drew these and other conclusions after completing the world’s first randomised control trial (RCT) into the efficacy of telemedicine abortion – a medication-based abortion that generally relies on a two-drug combination and is aimed at women in their first trimester. The study was a joint collaboration between academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Karolinska Institutet – a research-led medical university in Stockholm, Sweden.


Dobbs v Jackson judgment in US may stifle women’s reproductive rights as far afield as Africa

Women have a right to an abortion in South Africa that is protected by the Constitution. Yet of the 3,880 health facilities in South Africa, less than 7% provide access to abortion services, and of the 505 medical facilities specifically designated to provide the service, an estimation of only 197 are currently operational.

By Sibusisiwe Ndlela, Charlemaine Husselmann and Primah Kwagala
21 Aug 2022

Recognition of a right to abortion is often the first step towards creating an enabling environment for women to access abortions but in some countries in east and southern Africa, argue the authors, the outcome of the US case may put brakes on little sparks of hope that emerged in recent years.

The right to abortion has been catapulted into the spotlight by Dobbs v Jackson, the landmark judgment of the United States (US) Supreme Court that overturned Roe v Wade — a 50-year-old precedent of that court that first recognised the constitutional right to abortion in the US.


South Africa – 64,000 women still die every year as a result of backstreet abortions

Since November 1996 women legally have the right to access abortion in South Africa up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

By Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe
20 Jun 2022

In South Africa, a woman of any age can get an abortion by simply requesting with no reasons given if she is less than 13 weeks pregnant.

If she is between 13 and 20 weeks pregnant, she can get the abortion if:

  • Her own physical or mental health is at
  • The baby will have severe mental or
    physical abnormalities
  • She is pregnant because of incest
  • She is pregnant because of rape
  • She is of the personal opinion that her
    economic or social situation is sufficient reason for the termination of
  • If she is more than 20 weeks pregnant,
    she can get the abortion only if she or the foetus’ life is in danger or
    there are likely to be serious birth defects.


South Africa – When all else fails: Why people opt for backstreet abortions

Mohale Moloi & Yolanda Mdzeke
8 Jun 2022

Waiting for the bus? Chances are you will see an advert promising “cheap, fast, pain-free abortions”. Browsing through your local paper’s classifieds you might well spot a similar ad there. Going online? The adverts for abortion services frequently pop up there, too.

But these ads are usually not for legitimate abortions despite abortions having been legal in South Africa since 1996.


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.