Original Research

The impact of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 (Act 92 of 1996) on criminal abortions in the Mthatha area of South Africa

Banwari L. Meel, Ram P. Kaswa
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 1, No 1 | a36 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v1i1.36 | © 2009 Banwari L. Meel, Ram P. Kaswa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2009 | Published: 14 July 2009

About the author(s)

Banwari L. Meel, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Ram P. Kaswa, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

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Abstract

Background: The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 (Act 92 of 1996) allows abortions to be legally carried out in South Africa. It is not clear how many people are utilising this service. Mthatha is a poverty-stricken area with a high rate of illiteracy. The available infrastructure, such as roads, health facilities and communication, is poor.

Method: This was a retrospective, descriptive study carried out at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha. The registered criminal abortion cases recorded between 1993 and 2006 were analysed.

Results: There were 51 cases of criminal abortions recorded from 1993 to 2006. Of these, 32 were aborted in the first trimester of pregnancy and the rest were in the second trimester. No significant gender differences were observed among aborted babies. 10 of the foetuses were male and nine were female. The highest number (nine) of abortions was recorded in 1993 and in 2005. The highest number of criminal abortions (11) took place in May. Most cases (35) were concealed births and were discovered accidentally either by the public or the police.

Conclusion: The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 (Act 92 of 1996) had no impact on criminal abortions in the Mthatha area of South Africa.


Keywords

South Africa; foetuses; criminal abortion; termination; Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996 (Act 92 of 1996)

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