This study explored women’s experiences accessing services and estimate costs incurred for first-trimester abortion at four public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Despite the availability of government assistance for children through South Africa’s “child grant,” the affordability of raising a child was a major concern for women. Although theoretically available free of charge in the public sector, women experienced challenges accessing abortion services and incurred costs which may have been burdensome given average local earnings. These potential barriers could be addressed by reducing the number of required visits and improving availability of pregnancy tests and supplies in public facilities.
Abortion in a progressive legal environment: The need for vigilance in protecting and promoting access to safe abortion services in South Africa
The importance of South Africa as a model for reproductive self-determination in Africa cannot be underestimated. Abortion has been legal since 1996, and the country has some of the most developed government systems for the provision of abortion care on the continent. Yet in the same way opponents of abortion in the United States have whittled away at access with increased bureaucracy, South Africa faces similar assaults that leave women without safe care and threaten to turn back achievements made during the past 16 years. This article explores the history of the law, subsequent legal challenges, and new threats to women’s access to abortion services, including service delivery issues that may influence the future of public health in the country.