South Africa: The Health Minister Needs to Provide an Accurate Answer About Abortion Services in SA

opinion

A woman's right of access to a safe abortion through the public health system was one of the first important reforms of the democratic government. Yet 25 years later, this right is severely limited by a shrinking number of facilities providing abortion and a failure of the Ministry of Health to provide accurate information.

In 2017, the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism published an article titled "#SizaMap: Where to get a safe, legal abortion in South Africa". In addition to exposing the dire state of abortion services in South Africa, Bhekisisa also provided a search tool that would assist anyone seeking an abortion with locating the health establishment closest to them where they could access safe abortion services.

Two years later, to our knowledge, this is the only national database of facilities that offers abortion services.

On 13 September 2019, member of parliament Ms A Weber of the DA asked the minister of health three questions relating to access to abortion services. One of the questions was for the names of all the approved clinics and/or institutions where abortions are legally allowed to take place.

In his written response, the minister provided a list containing 357 facilities (clinics, community health...

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