Women and girls seeking abortions are often forced to seek informal, illegal, and unsafe abortions as a result of various systemic barriers. Khanyisa Mapipa, Sibusisiwe Ndlela, and Thokozile Mtsolongo look at the state of abortion services in the public sector in the Eastern Cape.
On 17 February, Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo led a march against unsafe abortions in Rustenburg, North West, but a march alone cannot eliminate barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing safe abortions in the public health system. Much more is needed, argue Sibusiwe Ndlela, Khanyisa Mapipa and Thokozile Mtsolongo in an open letter.
Among several significant barriers to accessing abortion services, experts cite a lack of management support at health facilities, costs, fear of breach of confidentiality and stigma. Many of these barriers are compounded in rural areas. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Abortion providers say self-managed abortions can give women more autonomy over their bodies, but access to this form of abortion remains limited in South Africa. Tiyese Jeranji looks at what exactly self-managed abortion entails.
With abortion services now available through telemedicine and the increasing practice of self-managed abortion, Marion Stevens asks if abortion law still has any relevance given these practices.