Canny Maphanga, who is a writer and commentator at TheNewAge newspaper last week asked a very worrisome but also very important question when analysing a very serious topic, “why do illegal abortion still take place when abortion is legal? . Abortion was legalised 25 years ago in South Africa.
Indeed, the fact that between 2,500 and 3,000 women and young girls in the country terminate their pregnancies monthly is of even greater concern. Many of these are usually school-going teenagers whose parents are either aware or do not know what their trusted children are up to.
Maphanga observes that despite modern legislation, the most shocking reality is that Mzansi is still met with illegal and extremely dangerous and exorbitantly priced back -street abortionists dispensing medication to any woman seeking an abortion.
While there are legal ways for women of any age to get a free abortion after being pregnant for up to 12 weeks and even 20 weeks in exceptional cases like if the woman was raped or for socio-economic issues, women, and again young and teenage women, jump to abort illegally putting their own health at risk.
There are a number of reasons for women to prefer to abort than to give birth and raise a child she had never planned for. A woman who has been raped will give everything and do everything to abort a child conceived during a violent experience of rape. Women who have been raped will want to get rid of the child or anything that reminds her of the incident.
So, these illegal abortionists who are lining the streets in Mzansi waiting for their prey in some dark corner in a secrete room will continue with their illegal and very expensive practices claiming to be helping our desperate sisters and daughters.
What we don’t understand is why are South African health authorities, our law enforcement agencies, police and everybody so afraid of tackling illegal abortion and once and for all get rid of the scourge which is obviously endangering the lives of teenage girls in society.
These people are advertising daily in the streets, on walls of buildings, street light poles, trees, dustbins, electricity boxes, in newspapers and a variety of places. They freely give the addresses from where they “operate illegally” and “invite” women of any age to “come in for a pain-free and quick abortion”. But yet they are not being arrested. Can somebody tell us which law under our world-famous, very powerful and informed Constitution protects them from incarceration?
It is obvious that these people are involved in criminal activities which they carry out freely without fear of being arrested. Why?
Like Maphanga suggested, society as a whole need to collectively support women in promoting their sexual health and “slowly but surely, we can eliminate these criminals who wander through the streets of Johannesburg, Mahikeng, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, Witbank, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth,
Mthata, Durban, East London and many other cities, towns, townships and villages throughout South African.
We cannot just stand by and watch the future of our nation’s pride( our women folk) being destroyed while we don’t do anything to rescue them from these spineless and mindless criminals.