Battle continues for women's right to safe (and stigma-free) abortions

It's been 20 years since the passing of the Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act, but yet not all women in South Africa have access to safe abortions.

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) says that many women still struggle to access this health service which is supposed to be their right under that law.

As a consequence, more than half of all termination of pregnancies (TOPs) carried out in this country are illegal (and often unsafe).

WLC lead attorney Jody Fredericks says that while South Africa's laws are very progressive, what is on paper does not translate to health practice and women's lived realities.

Fredericks explains that there is not enough information about TOPs, and many women have complained about maltreatment from healthcare practitioners.

This conflates the challenges to access, because TOPs are time sensitive procedures, advises Fredericks.

There are also those who deny women access to TOPs because of their conscience, thus violating the women's moral and legal choice.

TOPs in the public healthcare are free, but private services are costly and prohibitive for poorer women.

Journalist Joonji Mdyogolo has collected women's abortion stories as a part of larger series of work, and says abortion is highly pathologised subject matter, often linked to young black poor teenage girls.

She says that women of different, ages, races and upbringings have all experienced the stigma of what is a common social practice.

We might have moved progressively in terms of the law, but we haven't changed in terms of how we think about it.

Joonji Mdyogolo, journalist

Young people, married couples, religious leaders - people from all walks of life - want to remain anonymous because of the social stigma.

Mdyogolo advises that South Africans need to rethink the polarising binary discussion of 'pro-choice' vs 'pro-life'.

Read More
Elkanah House pupils go green with daily grey-water gardening campaign

Elkanah House pupils go green with daily grey-water gardening campaign

Pupils at Elkanah House's Pre and Junior Primary in Blouberg are doing their part to save water in Cape Town.

Firefighters battling blaze in Parklands and Hout Bay

Firefighters battling blaze in Parklands and Hout Bay

While no properties are in danger, the Parklands fire has not yet been contained due to a strong south easterly wind.

Criminal charges laid against culprit of Stellies rooster assault

Criminal charges laid against culprit of Stellies rooster assault

Police are probing a complaint about a man who tossed a rooster around and forced it to smoke a cigarette at a Stellenbosch party.

Student-led Stellies group educating about gender, rape culture, sexual identity

Student-led Stellies group educating about gender, rape culture, sexual identity

A movement of student and staff from Stellenbosch University campus is schooling peers on rape culture and building a safer space.

Book 'Dancing the Death Drill' re-imagines sinking of the SS Mendi 100 years ago

Book 'Dancing the Death Drill' re-imagines sinking of the SS Mendi 100 years ago

Today the world commemorates the passing of over 600 black troops who sank with the passenger steamship SS Mendi in 1917.

How Airbnb has made renting in Cape Town even more pricey

How Airbnb has made renting in Cape Town even more pricey

Property management company PayProp argues that Airbnb has driven down rental availability and driven up rental prices in the CBD.

Popular articles
10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

Naked Scientist explains what causes those annoying hiccoughs

Naked Scientist explains what causes those annoying hiccoughs

Many people do not understand why they suddenly get hiccoughs. Naked Scientist Dr Chris Smith explains.

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

Letters show Moyane refuses to account to Gordhan, turns to Zuma to intervene

M&G reports that Sars Commissioner Tom Moyane declared an intergovernmental dispute against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

How Airbnb has made renting in Cape Town even more pricey

How Airbnb has made renting in Cape Town even more pricey

Property management company PayProp argues that Airbnb has driven down rental availability and driven up rental prices in the CBD.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.