/ 1 December 2009

ANC: Health dept must probe illegal abortions

The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng on Tuesday called on the Health Department to probe the peddling of pills used for inducing labour to terminate pregnancy.

”The health department investigation should be promptly and effective as the street peddlers continue to do damage and take advantage of desperate and vulnerable people,” the party said in a statement.

This after a report in the Sowetan on the availability of the drug Misoprostol on the streets of Soweto. The pill is used to induce labour to terminate pregnancy.

The party said it was ”most worrying” that those peddling the drug in the streets allegedly work with employees at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

”These street peddlers are dangers to society. Those under the employ of the hospital should face the full might of the law.”

The Sowetan report said the pills were available from R200 to R750 depending on how far a women was into her pregnancy.

The drug can only be obtained from a pharmacy and according to the Medical Control Council, it was a criminal offence to be in possession of it, the report said.

The ANC warned women against using the drug.

”We equally do not understand why people rush to street peddlers because abortion is legal in South Africa,” it said.

Health Department spokesperson Mandla Sidu could not immediately be reached for comment. — Sapa