Abortion and traditional medicine in South Africa

Prof Vincent as project leader

When traditional medicine is mentioned in connection with abortion in South Africa it is usually considered under the heading of ‘unsafe abortion’. This research aims to find out whether or not the role played by the traditional medicine sector in South Africa can be thought of as having a positive contribution to make to women’s reproductive health or if it is properly to be considered under the heading of the problem of unsafe abortion which remains a significant cause of maternal mortality. Since abortion is now freely and legally available to South African women in the public health sector governed by one of the most liberal abortion dispensations in the world, why do some women still resort to consultation with traditional healers and use of traditional remedies when seeking an abortion? How best are we to understand this practice – as illegal backstreet abortions victimising women and threatening their health or as acts of resistance?

Last Modified: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:14:25 SAST