Since the enactment of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOP Act) in 1996, there has been a significant disconnect between the official policy on safe abortion and its implementation. The situation has worsened with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and access to abortion services is now severely limited, write Boitumelo Masipa and Thembi Mahlathi.
The new national clinical guidelines for the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act serve as an opportunity to strengthen services in providing much-needed clarity and guidance to health workers. Marion Stevens and Nozizwe Conco unpack these guidelines on International Safe Abortion Day.
As we commemorate yet another Women’s Month, we are reminded of the many initiatives that have come and gone in an attempt to address the extreme period poverty that continues to plague South African women and girls. It is time to solve this issue once and for all, and to make sanitary towels and menstrual hygiene products free and readily available, writes René Sparks.
The ongoing stockouts of contraceptives grossly violate individuals’ and couples’ reproductive rights but alternative measures have not been put in place. If the issues of access to contraceptives are not dealt with, the country will face a baby boom and a rise in HIV infections at the end of the current pandemic writes Thuthukile Mbatha and Annah Maluleke.
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.
Almost nine months since the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) released a damning report with dozens of women living with HIV’s testimonies about forced sterilisations allegedly performed on them in public health facilities, the Department of Health has now moved to implement the Commission’s recommendations. Nomfundo Xolo reports.
The exit of Doctors without Borders’ (MSF) rape crisis support in the North West province during the COVID-19 pandemic arguably could not come at a worse time. Is the North West’s Department of Health ready to take over these services? Ufrieda Ho 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.
The COVID-19 pandemic and South Africa’s national lockdown has exacerbated existing challenges the LGBTQI+ community and sex workers experience in accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare services. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Under COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa and elsewhere, many public services have been interrupted, including sexual and reproductive health services. Thuthukile Mbatha considers the heavy toll these interruptions have taken on people’s lives.