‘Report Illegal Abortion Services’

Free and safe abortions are done at Somerset Hospital in Green Point. Photo: Wikimedia

Free and safe abortions are done at Somerset Hospital in Green Point. Photo: Wikimedia

A spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health has urged people to report illegal abortion services. Spokesperson Mark van der Heever says ‘fear and shame’ drive young women and girls to use illegal abortion services advertised on trains, busses and lamp posts.

A number of foetuses were found across the Cape Metropole during August. The tally includes a foetus recently found buried in a back yard in Athlone, two foetuses found on 8 and 10 August in Site 5 informal township in Table View and a new-born baby’s body which was found near Sir Lowry’s Village on 21 August.

Deadly thinking
According to Van der Heever young women “think that if they go to a medical facility that offers free and safe abortions they might be treated negatively.” Van der Heever says, “They don’t want their parents to find out or to be stigmatised because they had sex before marriage. They don’t trust the staff to keep their info confidential. We are trying to overcome this stigma.”

Free and safe abortions are available
Abortions are available at various medical facilities across the Cape Metropole. The young women from Site 5 informal settlement in Table View who aborted and dumped foetuses in respectively a wheelie bin and a dam would probably have been referred to Somerset Hospital in Green Point whilst the woman from Athlone who allegedly buried her foetus in a neighbour’s back yard could have been referred to Karl Bremer Hospital, Heideveld Emergency Centre or Khayelitsha hospital.

Van der Heever urges women who suspect that they are pregnant to have a pregnancy test at the nearest clinic. The sister in charge will inform them about the adoption procedure and abortions. Girls who are under age need their parents’ permission in order for the pregnancy to be terminated. The available options are: Medical abortions (pills or tablets) for women who are 4-9 weeks pregnant. Surgical abortions from 12-20 weeks.

Van der Heever urges the public to report illegal abortion services to the Department of Health or police.