Petition to South African Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi

Abortions are legal in South Africa, but women still can’t access them due to lack of information, argues a petition directed at South African Ministry of Health. The demands drafted by the Sexual & Reproductive Justice Coalition include making lists of all abortion facilities public, ensuring that medical abortion guidelines are passed and training health workers to provide care for women who need abortion-related emergency treatment.


Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi and members of the Portfolio Committee on Health, South Africa

We, the undersigned, call on you to end the desperation that leads women to risk their lives to access abortions by:

– Making lists of all abortion facilities public by municipality, also noting which are operational and dysfunctional prior to local government elections;

– Ensuring that medical abortion guidelines are passed in all provinces, currently only one province in South Africa has guidelines;

– Ensuring that medical abortion drugs – misoprostol and mifepristone ‒ are on the Essential Drug lists of all provinces and local municipalities;

– Including information about medical abortion on all National Department of Health (NDOH) mobile platforms such as BWISE and Mom Connect on abortion;

– Training for abortion providers is supported and organised for nurses and doctors, and that no health worker graduates without competency in being able to provide care for a women who presents needing emergency treatment in relation to abortion.

Why is this important?

Young people were encouraged to register for the upcoming elections, but Noziziwe Buthelezi (not her real name) won’t be voting in these elections or ever. She died last week after after a failed, unsafe abortion.

While abortion is legal in South Africa, women like Noziziwe are forced to risk their lives by using unsafe, illegal options. The posters advertising these fill our streets, yet most public institutions have no information about the safe, free alternatives available to women.

If enough of us come together, we can demand that the NDOH upholds women’s right to access quality, affordable and acceptable sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including abortion.