Standing together against illegal abortions

2015-11-25 06:23
PHOTO: supplied People march in the city in support of the Anti-illegal Abortions Campaign at UMgungundlovu District.

PHOTO: supplied People march in the city in support of the Anti-illegal Abortions Campaign at UMgungundlovu District.

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LAST week marked the launch of the Anti-illegal Abortions Campaign at UMgungundlovu District with a march that took place in the city, headed by KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

“It is indeed a matter of great concern that despite South Africa having one of the most progressive abortion laws in the world, South Africa still remains a place where women choose backstreet providers against the widespread available government-sanctioned abortion centres,” said Dhlomo.

He added that after 18 years of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act women are still dying as a result of illegal abortions.

Dhlomo said that one of the most alarming things in society is seeing the marketing of “free painless abortions” plastered on walls, street corners, and the like.

“The proliferation of this advertising, and the fact that it is posted in public spaces such as taxi ranks and shopping centres, make many women believe they are accessing a legitimate service.”

In the last financial year there have been 12 031 women admitted to health facilities in KZN due to incomplete abortions and of that there were 1 455 septic abortions.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Rene Morcom, founder of the Assist Foundation, said that as a pro-life organisation, they stand firm in the value of all human life, three weeks or three months.

“More education needs to be focused on the value of life, birth control and abstinence. My plea to government is to provide non-biased pre-abortion counselling and give the [would-be] moms the option of adoption and referrals to organisations like ours that can offer mothers support during a crisis pregnancy. You want to see the backstreet abortion rate fall by offering loving support to mothers. These women are scared and alone and need guidance and support,” she said.

Morcom added that there needs to be a combined approach to removing all backstreet abortionists and criminals.

“By protesting we are showing support, but by arresting these criminals we begin to put an end to it. There is a prison sentence for unregistered abortion clinics and it must be enforced,” she said.

Morcom works with women who have attempted a late-term back-street abortion.

“We are very fortunate to have a high rate of success when counselling these mothers. The mothers who come to us after an illegal abortion often need antibiotics and sometimes we need to refer them for womb cleaning at the hospital. However, the emotional side effects of abortion are more long-term and not as simple to cure. We have had mothers on the verge of suicide. It takes hours of counselling, but even then, it’s something she will never forget,” she said.

“We have to work together to change all this. Failure to do so drives young women needing the services to the quack ‘doctors’ who profess safe, painless and quick abortions. The stigma of abortion is as much an obstacle to women accessing the services as it is to the doctors and nurses who provide the services,” said Dhlomo.

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