The Limpopo Department of Health is fighting to shut down a growing number of illegal abortion clinics in the Vhembe area – some targeting students specifically with 50 percent discount offers.
Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba is angry about the situation, and is urging young people not to use the facilities. While she is unable to say how many illegal abortionists are operating in the area, she says it is a growing trend judging by the many new posters advertising abortions that are appearing in areas all around the province.
“I urge all the people, especially the youth, to refrain from using the services of these illegal abortion clinics which are being run in our province. And I urge all the leaders to unite in fighting against this,” Ramathuba said.
Read: Illegal abortion horror continues
Local residents say the illegal abortion clinics in Vhembe are one of the main reasons why teenagers are engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse, which puts them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
“For us to be able to win this fight, our children must also play their role. They must focus on their books instead of having sex, which puts them at risk of falling pregnant and ending up as victims of those illegal abortion clinics,” said Dr Ramathuba.
Risk of disease
“I blame whoever is behind all these illegal abortion clinics in our area, as now our kids are having unprotected sex, knowing that if they fall pregnant they can easily have an illegal abortion,” said Johanna Mulaudzi, a mother of three daughters.
Read: Abortions for sale
She prays every night that her children do not give in to peer pressure and have unprotected sex and face all the risks of diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
The Limpopo Department of Health is currently on a campaign to remove the growing number of posters advertising illegal abortions as well as penis and breast enlargements which are cropping up all over the province, especially in the Vhembe region. Some of the adverts particularly target students, offering them half-price abortions.
“If we work together we will be able to close down and remove all these illegal clinics in our province and make it a better place for our children to grow up,” said Dr Ramathuba.
Read: Bulk of abortions take place in developing world
Nurse Irene Sithole said that although government clinics and hospitals in the area offered legal abortions at no cost, women were opting to rather pay and go elsewhere.
Quick and private
"Some young women are scared of being spotted at a government clinic or hospital by someone they know. Others are afraid of the judgmental things the nurses at the government clinics or hospitals say or the questions they ask," said Sithole.
She said the abortion services offered at the illegal clinics were quick and private, but carried a cost.
OurHealth contacted some of the clinics and found that they charge on average between R800 and R1 200 for an abortion. Health-e News.
More abortions in countries where it's illegal
Abortion laws make Senegalese women kill babies
Should aborted foetuses be used for stem cell research?
Health-e News is South Africa’s award-winning dedicated health news service producing news and in-depth analysis for the country’s print and television media.