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20 September 2007

Abortion rate rising sharply

The number of women under the age of 18 undergoing abortions at state medical facilities have more than doubled since 2001.

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The number of women under the age of 18 undergoing abortions at state medical facilities increased from 4423 in 2001 to 9 895 last year, according to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

During the same period, the number of women over 18 having abortions grew from 32 679 to 71 856, she said in written reply to a parliamentary question by Eddie Trent of the Democratic Alliance.

Only the consent of the pregnant woman was required for an abortion, but in the case of a minor, the health care provider advised the minor to consult with parents, relatives or friends.

However, abortions could not be denied if the minor chose not to consult.

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