Pregnant teenagers are more scared of their parents than HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, or babies, according to a report.
"My mom chased me away. Maybe when I have had the baby I can go home and go back to school," a 16-year-old said during a group session at a clinic, The Herald newspaper reported.
A 17-year-old orphan, chased away by her guardian when she fell pregnant, said: "At least now I have a baby, which means I have someone to love. He is my whole life now."
According to Jean Downey director of New Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Uitenhage: "Girls have sex for money. We are teaching our daughters to be prostitutes. They are doing it for shoes and for airtime."
Lack contraception not to be blamed
When girls who had been raped came to the centre and were interviewed, they were surprised to learn that they could say no, The Herald reported.
"When we tell the girls they can say no, it is your body, boys cannot demand sex from you, it is not a prerequisite to love, and they are completely surprised and almost shocked."
Thandi Plaatjie, a community worker at the Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic in Jeffreys Bay, said lack of access to contraception was not the cause of teenage pregnancies.
"There is no problem with access to contraceptives. These girls are clued up. They are just curious and then end up with the consequences of a stupid decision."
She said the majority of their patients, aged around 13, fell pregnant because of coercive sex.
Sex for airtime
"One of my patients is 13-years-old and pregnant. Her mother brought her here for contraceptives. Then we found out that she was already pregnant. She had sex with a man for airtime and again for hair relaxant."
Abortions took place every 10 minutes at Eastern Cape clinics, The Times reported.
Pregnant school girls, some as young as 12, were putting a strain on the Eastern Cape abortion clinics.
The Annual Surveys for Ordinary Schools for 2009-2010 report shows that of the 45,276 teenage pregnancies recorded, 8420 were in the Eastern Cape.
Resort to illegal abortions
Staff at the women's clinic at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth were seeing between 16 and 20 young women daily, according to the report.
Dozens were turned away because their pregnancies were too advanced.
Many of the women then resorted to illegal abortions, resulting in an increase in maternal deaths.
Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told The Times: "There is an increasing demand for abortion because teenagers do not want to use contraceptives. Instead, they use termination of pregnancy as a means of contraception."
(Sapa, June 2012)
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