Why black market abortion methods still in high demand despite it being legal

In South Africa abortion on demand has been legally available since February 1997 but still, there are reports of women dying of illegal abortion in the black market.

One argument is that black market tablets are easily available on the street for women and girls who want termination of pregnancy without feeling judged or having to consult doctors.

A man was arrested last week selling an abortion pill in the streets of Cape Town.

Prof Catriona Macleod, SARChI Chair of the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction research programme at Rhodes University explains why the pill is still in high demand on the black market despite abortion being legal.

Read: Man arrested in Cape Town CBD for selling abortion pills in public

There are several other reasons - the cost of getting to clinics in terms of distance and this is exacerbated if you stay in rural areas.

Prof Catriona Macleod, SARChI Chair of the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction

We also found that people just don't know about their rights. There is a lack of state-led information campaigns that inform people what their rights are and where these facilities are.

Prof Catriona Macleod, SARChI Chair of the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction

Macleod also speaks about the issue of lack of confidentiality in state facilities as one of the reasons why they would resort to street vendors for abortion medication.

For these reasons, research has shown that people don't go to clinics in their area, but rather travel to other towns to have an abortion.

People don't trust that there would be confidentiality. They worry about the nurses and the teachers informing their families.

Prof Catriona Macleod, SARChI Chair of the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction

And of course, you can be recognised by whomever at the clinic...

Prof Catriona Macleod, SARChI Chair of the Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction

To hear the rest of the conversation on abortions, listen below:


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