Abortion in South Africa

All about Abortion in South Africa, Women and Health, Women's Right to Choose, Sexual Health and more in South Africa on Mywage South Africa.

The topic of abortion is sometimes controversial. Some women think that, due to their religious or spiritual beliefs, abortion should not be legal. Other people think that it is a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, or not. In South Africa, the law supports a woman’s right to choose.

Who can get an abortion?

The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed in 1997 in South Africa, providing abortion on demand for a variety of cases.

Any woman of any age can get an abortion, if she is less than 13 weeks pregnant. 

If she is between 13 and 20 weeks pregnant, she can get the abortion if:

  • Her own physical or mental health is at stake
  • The baby will have severe mental or physical abnormalities
  • She is pregnant because of incest
  • She is pregnant because of rape, or 
  • She is of the personal opinion that her economic or social situation is sufficient reason for the termination of pregnancy. 

If she is more than 20 weeks pregnant, she can get the abortion only if her or the fetus' life is in danger or there are likely to be serious birth defects.

A woman under the age of 18 will be advised to consult her parents, but she can also decide not to inform or consult them. A woman who is married or in a life-partner relationship will be advised to consult her partner, but again she can decide not to inform or consult him/her.


An exception is that if the woman is severely mentally ill or has been unconscious for a long time, consent of a life-partner (only if male), parent or legal guardian is required.

Who performs abortions?

In general, only medical doctors may perform abortions. Nurses who have received special training may also perform abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Health workers do not have to perform or take active part in an abortion if they do not wish to. However, in terms of the law they must assist a procedure if it is necessary to save the life of a patient, even if the emergency is related to an abortion.

A health worker who is asked to perform an abortion may choose not to. But health workers are obligated by law to inform a woman of her rights and refer her to another health worker or facility where she can get the abortion.

Can one get counselling?

Most abortion centres will insist on providing pre- and post-abortion counselling, and the woman can legally demand it. However, it is not a legal requirement that abortion centres provide it. Counselling can be provided by clinics or private counselors.

How much will it cost?

Abortions are free at certain state hospitals or clinics, although sometimes only if the woman is referred by a health worker. If one goes through one's own private doctor or a private hospital, there will be fees.

Read more 

Read more about Female Contraception.