It’s time to shake the stigma around abortion.
My body. My choice.
You have the right to access sexual and reproductive healthcare and information.
You have autonomy in sexual and reproductive decision-making.
These rights are universal, indivisible, and undeniable.
When a woman is denied unencumbered access to these services, her agency and the right to make decisions about her body are limited.
Economic and social barriers prevent many women, adolescent girls, and gender non-conforming people in South Africa from accessing timely and life-saving services, including safe abortion and contraception.
Due to these barriers, women, adolescent girls and gender non-conforming people often resort to illegal and unsafe abortion services, which put their health and lives at risk.
Better access to these services can prevent unsupported pregnancies and reduce unsafe abortions.
Unchecked advertising of ‘quick and pain free abortions’ by illegal providers perpetuates the stigma and misinformation about abortion among the population.
According to a 2009 study, two illegal abortion procedures took place in South Africa for every safe legal procedure.
We call on the government to:
- Urgently finalise national termination of pregnancy guidelines and ensure their dissemination in all provinces of South Africa;
- Ensure provision of reproductive health commodities – medical abortion drugs and MVA apparatus and ensure health providers are well trained through CPD processes to maintain their registration;
- Work with inter-ministerial partners and local governments for the stringent enforcement of by-laws to tackle illegal abortion providers, including introducing steps to address illegal advertising;
- Mainstream sexual and reproductive health and rights, including contraception and safe abortion, into the health agenda;
- Celebrate ‘Abortion Provider Appreciation Day’ annually on 10 March; and
- Engage the US government about the urgent need to repeal the ‘Global Gag Rule’ in South Africa.