Quick fix abortion pills?

Flyers for abortion pills are all over the place, and websites promise to fix a pregnancy. But doctors say that most of this is not true and the information is a lie.  For example, one website claims that the abortion pill could be taken for up to '7 months of pregnancy'.  The 'pill' referred to is Misoprostol and can only be taken up to 5 months of pregnancy.  But even this is not safe. reports that this pill should only be taken at home for up to 9 weeks of pregnancy. If the pregnancy is more advanced, the risk of bleeding increases, which is why the woman has to be admitted to hospital for a termination.

In 2010, the South African Medical Research Council stated that half of abortions undertaken by girls (aged 13-19) were performed outside of a hospital or clinic. A similar study found that South African women under 20 were 3 times more likely to go to a hospital with an incomplete abortion.

Illegal abortions are dangerous. They can cause haemorrhaging and septicaemia, a condition that occurs when bacteria enters the uterus and blood. Both conditions can be fatal if not treated immediately. Depending on the method, women may also face permanent damage to other internal organs.

Though women may be aware of the risks involved, still girls chose that over a safe and medical abortion. Why? Possibly because they feel they can do it without anyone finding out.

And they seem cheaper. Some ‘illegal’ abortions go for as little as R500. But abortions at government clinics are free.

As an alternative to state and public hospitals, women can use registered and approved service providers, like Marie Stopes where an abortion will cost between R1,300 to R3,200.

Abortion is legal in SA and free at government hospitals if you are in the first 12 weeks (3 months). From week 13 to 20, an abortion may be authorised.

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