KZN woman wins damages settlement against abortion clinic

2009-09-12 00:00

A DURBAN woman has successfully claimed for damages against an abortion clinic that gave her abortion medication in 2004 when she was already in her 28th week of pregnancy.

Crystal Osler was 18 years old at the time.

Legal abortions can normally be carried out only until the 12th week of a pregnancy.

According to Martus de Wet, a legal adviser for the anti-abortion NGO Doctors for Life (DFL), the case dragged on for four years because they could not get a court date.

This week De Wet reached a settlement with the clinic for an undisclosed sum of money.

De Wet says Osler was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the abortion. The clinic also did not inform her about “the detrimental psychological consequences that accompany up to 40% of all abortions … for example, some of the victims dream about the ‘baby’ coming to talk to them”, he said.

Osler received abortion medication from the clinic along with the instruction “not to look when her waters break, and to flush it down the toilet”. The clinic only realised two days later, during a follow-up visit, that the pregnancy was so far advanced. The abortion had not yet occurred spontaneously, but Osler was already in labour.

According to De Wet, any person undergoing an invasive medical procedure must be informed of all the possible complications, including psychological consequences.

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