South Africa: Backstreet Abortions Boom

The number of women seeking backstreet abortions in South African is growing as State hospitals and clinics have been unable to meet the demands for safe and free abortions.  Laila Abbas, advocacy manager of the private abortion group Mary Stopes emphasises that "reduced access to a free, state abortion service, and lack of money to pay for an abortion at a private clinic, were forcing women to resort to backstreet abortion clinics, which she said were 'mushrooming' throughout the country."  Women die everyday as a result of backstreet abortions, which often cause complications and compromise the health of those who have no other choice but to seek them out.

In light of this reality, it is clear that the government of South Aftica needs to put more money and resources towards reproductive health care and services in the State.  There is much to be done in terms of breaking down the the socio-economic barriers that prevent women from accessing basic reproductive health services, which necessarily includes access to free and safe abortion along with other critical reproductive health services such as comprehensive maternal healthcare, sexual education, and access to family planning and contraception for all women.  WGNRR believes that access to safe, free and legal abortion is a fundamental part of fulfilling the sexual and reproductive health rights of all women. 

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