Abortion is a medical or surgical procedure used to terminate a pregnancy. While abortion is legal in South Africa, many pregnant people still struggle to access safe and legal abortion services, for a number of reasons. Access to safe and legal abortion for all, regardless of race, economic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or any other factor, is fundamental for sexual and reproductive justice to be realised.
If you are in your early stages of pregnancy, you have the legal right to access abortion services at a healthcare clinic, regardless of your reason for wanting to terminate your pregnancy. If a healthcare provider tells you that you cannot have an abortion, because of your age, gender identity, financial circumstances, or any other aspect of your identity, they are being unethical and acting against the law.
There are two types of abortion procedures – medical and surgical:
Medical abortion is when you take tablets to have an abortion.
A surgical abortion is when you have a surgical procedure to remove the contents of your womb.
What’s the difference? And what is the best option for you?
For each person, the preferred or most effective method for abortion will be different, depending on a range of circumstance, including your stage of pregnancy. While medical abortion is very effective for early stages of pregnancy, if you do not have access to water and sanitation (for example, a flushing toilet), you should tell your provider so that they can make a plan for you. Similarly, if you have experienced sexual assault or are very young, a surgical procedure may help you cope with the process better. Consult your abortion provider on the best option for you.
Whatever method you choose, it is really important to get to your nearest or chosen clinic or provider as early in your pregnancy as possible.
For more information on the different types of abortion, check out this page!