Activists call for improved access to safe abortions

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Safe Abortion Johannesburg: Hundreds of people from various civil society organisations marched through the streets of Braamfontein on Friday to increase awareness about unsafe abortion and reproductive rights.

On Friday morning‚ hundreds of people from various civil society organisations marched from Braamfontein to Newtown. Raise awareness about reproductive rights and unsafe abortions in South Africa.

The march was held on international safe abortion day. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)‚ Sonke Gender Justice‚ Amnesty International‚ Right 2 Know‚ Amandla.Mobi‚ Gender Links and other organisations participated.

The organisations wrote a petition signed by about 200 people. It said that despite abortion being legal in South Africa‚ many women still struggle to access safe abortions. “This is due to severe stigma‚ refusal by health care providers due to their own religious or moral beliefs‚ lack of information‚ poor infrastructure and limited availability of safe abortion services‚” read the petition. The organisations intend to hand the petition to the national government.

The petition said government must urgently finalize national termination of pregnancy guidelines‚ ensure that everyone has access to contraceptives‚ take action against illegal abortion providers and celebrate abortion provider appreciation day on 10 March annually. It also said the government must engage with the United States (US) government on the urgent need to repeal the global gag rule in South Africa. According to the US based Center for Health and Gender Equity‚ the rule means that NGOs receiving US family planning funds “cannot inform the public or educate their government on the need to make safe abortion available‚ provide legal abortion services‚ or provide advice on where to get an abortion”.

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