Refusal of free and safe abortions by state facilities is an act of racism and classism

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Refusal of free and safe abortions by state facilities is an act of racism and classism

Society is highly split when it comes to pregnancy and abortion, however, it is my belief that the state should provide safe abortions as part of its mandate to provide healthcare.

The topic of abortion is one that is still highly taboo; on one hand, the pro-life brigade paints abortion as an abomination and links their reasoning to various religious practices. The pro-choice brigade, on the other hand, advocates for the pregnant person to exercise their right to choose what happens to the pregnancy – either carrying to term or terminating the pregnancy.

During my university years, I tutored high school boys and girls and ended up mentoring some of them. Mentorship extended beyond the academic space, as we delved into our personal lives. One young lady detailed her horrid experience at a public health institution, where she sought medical care and was turned away by nurses who cited abortion as ungodly. Therein lies the problem – mixing a professional career with personal religious preferences. We’ve all heard of the horror stories of backstreet abortions, where young girls often lose their lives or their ability to ever reproduce, due to denial at state facilities.

In places like South Africa, United States of America and countries in Europe, abortion is legal and should be catered for as such. I don’t know how to tell you, but the inaccessibility of free and safe abortion facilities is classist and racist, at best. The continued trend of medical practitioners refusing care to young girls because “it is a sin against God,” is a failure of the state. In most cases, it is young, black girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who seek these services and the denial of them is an act of racism and classism.

Termination of pregnancy at private institutions can cost anything between R1 500 to R5 000, depending on how far into the pregnancy the person is. Living in a society where there are plenty of reasons why one would choose to termination – pregnancy due to rape, not being financially ready, and so forth, the choice to terminate shouldn’t come with so many hurdles.

Abenathi Gqomo
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