Aborting three babies in six months is a sign that some women in the Eastern Cape are using the free government service as a means of contraception.
Health departmental records show that some women visited the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy (CToP) facilities three times within a six month period, each time to abort, said spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo this week.
“Some women do not bother using the available contraceptive methods, rather going back for abortions whenever they fall pregnant,” he said.
He said the department’s sex education programmes received positive response, but some people refused to conform.
Midwives who man the public health ToP clinics confirmed the surge in the numbers of terminations across the province, saying the highest numbers were women aged 20 to 30.
Women in 30 to 40 age group followed closely behind, with the number of teenagers almost as high, nurses said.
“The influx has been overwhelming, but it also means less backstreet abortions,” one nurse said.
Statistics from Mthatha General indicate that almost 4 000 women visited the facility last year, compared to just over 2500 in 2006, while Frere Hospital staff said they averaged 5000 women last year.
One midwife said: “Although we see fresh faces almost every day we also have repeat cases, where women will tell us they have been raped and cannot keep the child.”
This week the Saturday Dispatch spoke to pro-life and women’s support organisations and those in support of having “children by choice and not chance”.