Pregnant schoolgirls, some as young as 12 years old, were overloading the Eastern Cape’s abortion clinics, the Times reported on Tuesday.
The Annual Surveys for Ordinary Schools for 2009/10 report showed that of the 45 276 teenage pregnancies recorded, 8 420 were in the Eastern Cape.
Staff at the women’s clinic at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth were seeing between 16 and 20 young women daily, according to the report.
Dozens were turned away because their pregnancy was too advanced and there were limited resources for a second-term abortion.
Many of the women then resorted to backstreet abortions, resulting in an increase in maternal deaths, the Times reported.
Jean Downey, the director of New Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Uitenhage told the newspaper: “The kids are quite blasé and this is scary.”
“If you talk about HIV or abstinence, which is the repeated message of the department of education’s programmes, they just switch off,” Downey was quoted as saying.
Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told the newspaper: “There is an increasing demand for abortion because teenagers do not want to use contraceptives.”
“Instead, they use termination of pregnancy as a means of contraception.” – Sapa
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