For rural women‚ abortion at faraway state facilities is costly

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For rural women‚ abortion at faraway state facilities is costly

Roxanne Henderson | 2017-02-01 08:10:06.0

Marie Stopes has a social fund used to subsidise termination of pregnancy procedures for women who cannot afford them. File photo

Image by: Marie Stopes via Google photo

While some urban women have their pick of state and private abortion clinics‚ rural women may spend up to R3‚000 travelling to clinics 100km away.

This was a submission made to Amnesty International researchers when it compiled its Barriers to Safe and Legal Abortions in South Africa research briefing‚ released on Wednesday.

The research was done in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Women’s Health Research Unit. Wednesday also marks 20 years since the adoption of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act.

Amnesty International researcher Louise Carmody said in Mpumalanga‚ the women in one community had to travel about 100km to the nearest clinic and that multiple trips for consultations pushed up travel costs.

“The community tells us that if you are coming from our location‚ you pay R75 to go to town‚ Then you pay R400 [for the taxi to the hospital] just to book. You may pay up to R3‚000 just to go up and down‚ it might be full‚ until 20 weeks‚” submission said.

The briefing found that those living in rural areas‚ 43.6% of the population experienced the greatest adversities in accessing quality health care. They are served by only 12% of the country’s doctors and 19% of the nurses. Nearly 83% of the country’s population relies on the public health system.

Women who seek abortions but encounter barriers to state services‚ may be helped elsewhere but this can be costly.

Independent abortion provider Marie Stopes‚ which operates 14 centres across seven provinces‚ subsidises its fees to suit the socio-economic status of the communities they serve.

At its Sandton clinic‚ an abortion costs between R1‚050‚ at four weeks‚ to R5‚000‚ at 20 weeks. “We also offer a premium service that caters to our clients who would like a private room or to come in before or after hours at a higher fee – this is some of the money that we reinvest into the social fund allowing us to offer subsidies‚” Marie Stopes spokesperson Whitney Chinogwenya said.

Marie Stopes has a social fund used to subsidise termination of pregnancy procedures for women who cannot afford them.



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