Three backyard abortionists arrested

2016-01-29 12:25
Posters advertising ‘safe’ abortions cover a wall on Boshoff Street.

Posters advertising ‘safe’ abortions cover a wall on Boshoff Street. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - A trio of men operating as illegal abortionists were arrested in Port Shepstone last week.

The men were found in possession of herbs, instruments, tablets, promotional abortion pamphlets as well as ointments believed to be used for conducting illegal abortions.

The three were charged with impersonating medical practitioners and offering abortion services illegally.

A task team comprised of the Port Shepstone Public Order and Crime Prevention units, and personnel from the Health and Home Affairs departments made the arrest.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo yesterday applauded the arrests, saying he hoped they served as a strong message that backyard abortions would not be tolerated.

“We cannot allow unscrupulous people to put the lives of innocent people at risk by performing these illegal abortions,” he said in a statement.

“This gives us more impetus to continue working closely with authorities to squeeze out the space for all illegal abortion practitioners. They must all be made to face the full might of the law. It is disappointing that 18 years after the promulgation of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act that was introduced in 1996, we still have women being maimed and dying as a result of illegal and unsafe abortions. What is alarming is that we see these illegal abortion providers on the street corners, distributing the illegal abortion pamphlets,” he said.

The dangers of illegal abortion include:

• death;

• severe bleeding;

• uterine perforation;

• tearing of the cervix;

• severe damage to the genitals and abdomen;

• internal infection of the abdomen and blood poisoning; and

• increased risk of infertility.

Dhlomo said legal health practitioners who judged women seeking abortions contributed to the rate of illegal abortions. “We are trying to remind health care professionals about the importance of upholding professional ethics at all times.” — WR.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  abortion

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