16 May 2011

Pretoria — The Department of Health has again urged members of the public to use legal and designated abortion sites.

This follows yet another arrest of a man suspected of being a part of a syndicate of bogus doctors performing illegal abortions.

The man was arrested on Saturday shortly after he could allegedly abort a young woman’s unborn baby in Pretoria.

“In registered clinics and hospitals the termination services are performed by qualified and trained doctors and nurses in proper environments, such services are provided free of charge,” said department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe.

The department commended the arrest of the suspect and urged members of the public to work with the department and SAPS in reporting all suspected places where these illegal abortions are performed.

Hadebe warned women, who want to exercise their choice to terminate pregnancies, to avoid going to illegal and unregistered facilities that are mostly unhygienic.

“Such illegal abortions often lead to extreme dangers such as permanent damage of the womb and even death in some instances. People wishing to terminate pregnancy are advised to talk to their health worker (a doctor or nurse), where they will be given counselling on the procedure.”

He further warned that illegal, backstreet abortion facilities are only there to crook desperate women and rob them of their cash.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has raised concerns regarding the number of young girls taking the route of abortion due to the lack of information on contraceptives.

Speaking at the National Nursing Summit in April this year, Motsoaledi challenged nurses to join the department in embarking on a campaign to promote family planning to young girls through the use of contraception, instead of them resorting to abortion.

Motsoaledi was also aggrieved by the fact that streets poles were littered with advertisements for “safe abortions”, mainly from flight-by-night health professionals.

“Young girls only see boards about safe abortions … we’ve got to solve this problem. We must bring back the campaign of contraception to schools to stop pregnancies,” Motsoaledi said at the time, emphasising that nurses with special training in family health care should be deployed in schools.