Originally published: 03.04.17
A faded poster with the word ‘ABORTION’ in purple capital letters is plastered on a lamppost near my house in Grahamstown, South Africa. At the bottom of the poster, a phone number is printed in large font. Similar posters can be spotted in cities like Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. It might be on an electricity box in a small town, or on the side of a traffic light in a coastal area. The posters live all over South Africa — in fact, they’re so ubiquitous I rarely noticed them until a foreign friend mentioned them.
“Are these clinics legal?” she asked. “Because, I mean, abortion is legal here, right?”
Yes, abortion is legal here. The 1996 Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act allows trained doctors, midwives, and nurses to perform abortions on demand up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy, and for doctors to perform abortions thereafter under certain circumstances. The act was amended in 2003 to allow any health facility with a 24-hour maternity service to offer first trimester abortion services. South Africans are — at least theoretically — able to obtain abortions for free from public facilities.
Sian Ferguson : An intersectional feminist blog tackling issues from a unique South African perspective. The posts attempt to explain and discuss some academic feminist theories in a simple manner, so as to make feminism accessible to more people. Follow me on Twitter @sianfergs