Abortion has been legal in South Africa since the enactment of the 1996 Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. But unsafe abortion is prevalent and particularly impacts poor women and girls and those who live in rural areas. In 2012, nearly 50 percent of adolescent abortions occurred outside of a clinical setting. Most were likely unsafe.
Ipas South Africa partners with health departments in two provinces, Gauteng and Limpopo, to increase women’s access to safe, high-quality abortion. Programs include training safe abortion providers and clinic staff and supporting facilities to provide safe abortion services. Ipas South Africa also works with partners to advocate for public commitment to legal, accessible abortion. Beginning in 1995, Ipas partnered with South Africa’s National Department of Health and all nine Provincial Departments of Health to increase access to safe abortion care. Ipas closed its South Africa office in 2014 and reopened in 2017.
Making a ‘lifelong difference’ through mentoring
“Mentoring is one of the ways for me to show that Ipas South Africa and Ipas globally are not only talking about advocating for women’s rights,” says Caroline Mbi-Njifor, Ipas South Africa director. “We’re really very eager to live out that mission in every way possible.”