By email@example.com (Alex Patrick)
“I work with foetal prenatal bones. The goal is to prove the case forensically. The reason I do this is because there are hardly any inquests for the dumped [foetuses] — they don’t get investigated and they are forgotten. This is an injustice.
“I believe these children should have a voice. A lot are dumped just around the corner from a shelter or abortion clinic.”
Dr Gilbert believes illegal abortion and dumping of babies has always been an issue in SA. She said women may still be resorting to illegal abortions or killing their newborns because they may not know where to access a safe, legal abortion service.
“Women may not have the funds to pay for an abortion at a facility such as Marie Stopes. In my opinion, there are not enough facilities providing abortion services in SA. Due to budgetary constraints, Marie Stopes only has seven centres in four of the nine provinces.”
The organisation does have a national tele-abortion service for remote consultation for women who are less than nine weeks pregnant and would like a medical abortion.
Gilbert said though free abortions are available at state health facilities, many of the facilities don’t provide the service or only provide it within the first trimester of pregnancy.
“I think many women experience stigma when approaching a healthcare worker or facility to request an abortion and this may deter women from seeking a legal and safe abortion.”
Some women come to the clinic for help after attempting an illegal abortion.
The women say illegal abortion providers treat the interaction as a business transaction and “therefore the woman does not experience the same judgmental attitude that she would at some facilities that provide abortion care”.
“These women say the illegal provider is only interested in selling their product and therefore they don’t ask the woman about their reasons behind requesting the product.”