22 November 2012

South Africa: North West Health to March Against Backstreet Abortions

Pretoria — North West Health MEC, Dr Magome Masike, will today lead a peaceful march against the mushrooming of backstreet abortion "clinics", which are operated by bogus doctors.

Despite designating 18 hospitals and 14 community health centres to carry out professional termination of pregnancy, the department says it is dismayed by the increase in the number of women using illegal abortion facilities.

According to the Provincial Health Department, a total of 808 patients were treated for incomplete abortion at Klerksdorp/Tshepong hospital complex during the 2010/2011 financial year. This is a drastic increase from the 515 incomplete abortions done the previous financial year at the same hospital complex.

This has prompted the department, in conjunction with the National Prosecuting Authority, SAPS and Office of the Premier, to march against illegal abortions and to highlight the dangers associated with it.

"Public health facilities are overloaded by users of bogus abortion clinics, who often flock back to our facilities with serious complications. This is not only costly to the department but also creates a burden on the healthcare system," a concerned Masike said ahead of the march.

The march is scheduled to start in the afternoon at Choppies Taxi Rank in Mahikeng.

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, as amended by Act no 01 of 2008, promotes women's reproductive health rights and extends freedom of choice by affording every woman the right to choose whether to have an early, safe and legal termination of pregnancy, according to her individual beliefs.

The act also gives women of any age or marital status access to abortion services on request during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and in certain cases, extends the access to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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