Africa | South Africa

Abortion Laws in South Africa

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Is abortion legal in South Africa?

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act 1996 allows ALL women in South Africa to terminate pregnancy upon her request if she is within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (gestation). However, an abortion can be performed from the the 13th to 20th week of pregnancy if approved by a medical practitioner under the following conditions:

  • continuing the pregnancy may be a risk to the mother’s physical or mental health;
  • the fetus (foetus) may suffer with severe physical or mental abnormalities should the pregnancy continue to full term;
  • the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest; and/or
  • continuing the pregnancy may have severe economic or social impact on the mother.
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What are the different abortion services available in South Africa?

  • Medical Abortion - Abortion pill (Mifepristone, Misoprostol, Mifeprex)
  • Manual Vacuum Aspiration
  • Surgical Abortion
  • Dilation and Curettage
  • Post Abortion Care
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Who can perform abortions in South Africa?

  • Registered health professionals:
  • Medical Doctors
  • Gynaecologists
  • Mid-Wives
  • Nurses
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Where can I go for abortion services in South Africa?

  • Private Hospitals
  • Community Clinic
  • District Hospitals
  • Provincial Hospitals
  • Private Practices of registered health professional
  • Specialised private Sexual and Reproductive Health facilities, i.e. Marie Stopes
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What is the cost of an abortion in South Africa?

All government (public) facilities provide free abortions.
In private clinics:

  • Medical abortion from 5 weeks to 9 weeks of pregnancy costs on average between R620-R1200.
  • Manual Vacuum Aspiration from 10 weeks 12 weeks on average between R1700-R2500
  • Surgical abortion from beyond 12weeks to 20 weeks may vary on a case to case basis, but one can expect to pay R5500.
  • Medical aid (insurance) has criteria for covering abortion. Please check what yours covers.
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What are the legal and safe drugs available in South Africa?

  • Mifepristone (Mifeprex) plus misoprostol
  • Misoprostol
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Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy in South Africa?


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Can I buy abortion pills online in South Africa?


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Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in South Africa?

  • Safer Sex: Tel: 011 787 1222 / 886 2286
  • UCare Medical Centres: Tel: 010 600 2670
  • Marie Stopes: Toll free: 0800 11 77 85
  • Mosaic: Tel: 021 761 7585

South Africa has a huge problem of unregistered people who sell miscellaneous drugs to women, thereby increasing the rate of women who are hospitalized due to unsafe abortion practices. Women must ensure that they get abortion services from registered providers to be safe.

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