On Thursday September 29th, AHF Southern Africa joined the Department of Health in Isipingo to raise awareness of the dangers of backstreet abortions, and called on police to clamp down on illegal abortionists.
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Member of Executive Council (MEC) for Health Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who stopped regularly to remove illegal abortion adverts from bins, street poles and walls, led the march. March participants, including AHF staff, various NGOs, and Department of Health officials removed hundreds of illegal abortion adverts along the route.
MEC Dhlomo handed over a memorandum at SAPS Headquarters, calling on police to do more to fight for women’s health and protect their communities from unscrupulous illegal abortionists taking advantage of women desperate for help.
MEC Dhlomo noted that over 3000 botched abortions were recorded at local hospitals this year alone, with more than 100 cases of sepsis resulting in infertility. The MEC encouraged women to go to state-run clinics to access free safe termination of pregnancy.
As a show of support, AHF provided T-shirts for the march. AHF partners with the Department of Health in more than 15 clinics in South African and believes this effort to promote sexual and reproductive health for women and girls is critical.
“Having the MEC of Health come out so strongly for a woman’s right to choose sends a clear message to women and girls that their health and reproductive decisions are important. It also reinforces the clear commitment of government to providing safe termination of pregnancy, mandating healthcare workers to provide this service with compassion and professionalism.” said Larissa Klazinga, AHF Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager for Southern Africa.