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Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act No. 92 of 1996 gives all women the right to a free abortion (termination of pregnancy), at a government hospital or clinic during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Women of all ages have the right to an abortion and should never be denied the service because of their age. It’s, however, advisable to be accompanied by a trusted adult (a parent, aunt or teacher) for support if you’re under 18.

Abortion methods 

If you’re considering going for an abortion, speak to a medical practitioner about the safest methods available to you.

Abortion methods

  • Medical Abortions

Medical abortions use medication (pills or tablets) only. It’s available for women who are between 4 and 9 weeks pregnant. The length of the process is different for each woman but it usually takes a few days. Woman may experiences symptoms similar to a miscarriage.

  • Surgical Abortions

Surgical abortions involve a nurse (up to 12 weeks of pregnancy) or a doctor (from 12 to 20 weeks) conducting a same-day procedure in a clinic or hospital.

Where can you have a safe abortion?

Government hospitals, designated private doctors and gynaecologists, and non-profit providers such as the Marie Stopes centres in the Western Cape, offer safe and legal termination of pregnancy.

To have a free abortion, the request must be made at a primary healthcare clinic, where the pregnancy will be confirmed, counselling provided, an appointment made, and a referral letter is given to a facility where the procedure can be performed.

Not all health workers are willing to be involved in this service, but they are obligated by law to inform the client of her rights and must refer the client to a health worker or facility, where she can get the service at one of these Western Cape Health Facilities.

Women are advised to go for safe, legal abortions rather than “backstreet” abortions that are likely to endanger their health and their lives.

How can you access the service?

If you’re a first-time visitor to a health facility, you will be asked to complete a form and a folder will be opened.

You will need the following:

  • Your official ID document.
  • Your referral letter (if relevant).
  • Any medication you are taking.
  • Your clinic/hospital card if you have previously registered at the facility.

You must sign an informed consent form giving permission for the abortion to be done.

Note: Health workers who are unwilling to give the service for any reason must refer you to a colleague who is willing to do so, or to the appropriate health care facility near you with a referral letter and a booking.

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Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic – Caring for yourself after an abortion

Recovery after an uncomplicated abortion usually happens fairly quickly but it’s different for every woman.

Normal symptoms that most women will experience after a surgical abortion include:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting for the first 2 weeks.
  • Cramping for the first 2 weeks. Some women may have cramping (like menstrual cramps) for as long as 6 weeks.
  • Emotional reactions for 2 to three weeks.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic - Caring for yourself after an abortion

If you experience any of these symptoms, please consult your nearest medical facility immediately:

  • Lasting pain.
  • Discoloured or smelly vaginal discharge.
  • Abdominal tenderness.
  • Hot flushes or fever.
  • Sudden belly swelling.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Continuous and heavy bleeding, that soaks two or more pads in an hour, for two hours in a row.

Tips to speed-up your recovery:

  1. Drink a lot of fluids, including water.
  2. Get a few days’ leave from work to make sure you have recovered fully.
  3. Eat healthy food, take vitamins and get a lot of rest.
  4. Avoid exercising for 2 weeks.
  5. Avoid lifting heavy things and keep clear of hard work.
  6. Tampons can be used 4 weeks after your treatment or after your first period. Waiting until then helps to minimise the risk of infection.
  7. Refrain from having sex for up to 2 weeks after an abortion to minimise the risk of infection.
  8. Avoid drinking alcohol for 48 hours following your treatment, as alcohol can increase the risk of heavy bleeding.
  9. Look after your feelings as well as your body. Talk to someone about your abortion if you need to.

Women are advised to go for safe, legal abortions rather than “backstreet” abortions that are likely to endanger their health and their lives.

It’s much better, and in the long run, a lot cheaper to go to a registered clinic or hospital to have an abortion done. Make informed decisions about your body and your life.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic – How do I know if a place is unsafe?

Those flyers, you see them everywhere… Promising safe, same-day, painless abortions – 100% guarantee them, in fact.

But these illegal abortions are literal death traps and you need to avoid them. Even so, between 52 and 58% of the yearly abortions taking place in SA are illegal. And the problem with this is that you can get seriously hurt.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic - How do I know if a place is unsafe?

Not just that, unsafe abortions can lead to death. Here are a few tips to check whether a place is up to standard…

If a place is happy to perform abortions outside the constraints of the law (after 20 weeks), it’s illegal and unsafe. No abortion clinic will operate within an unsafe, unsanitary area or an actual building.

It’s a big red flag if there is only a mobile number and the “medical practitioner” is happy to meet you at your preferred location.

If you arrive at the location and begin to feel on edge, ask for the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) registration number. If this can’t be given to you, Avoid. This. Place.

It’s also a trap if other practices besides medical and surgical abortions are offered.

All abortion clinics will do physical examinations in latex gloves and with general hygiene (running water, clean linen, a medical waste disposal system…). You will always be recommended to schedule a follow-up appointment.

If this isn’t offered or unadvised, beware.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic – Know your rights

All women have the right to legal, safe abortions. This means that it doesn’t matter what age you are or what your family, husband or partner thinks. Essentially, it’s up to you. There is also no limit to the number of times you can have the procedure.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic - Know your rights

You have the right to choose what is best for you and your body.

Not all health practitioners are willing to be involved in termination services. This is their choice and that is fine. However, should they refuse to help you for whatever reason, they are obligated to refer you to someone or someplace that will. It is the law. Know your rights and use them.

Tygerberg Hospital Abortion Clinic