Safe Abortion Facts That You Need To Know





Abortion is a sensitive and controversial topic that has sparked countless debates over the years. However, it is important to provide factual information in order to educate people on the subject.

A look at the history of Abortion

he history of abortion doesn’t begin with the legalisation of medical procedures to end a pregnancy. Abortion has been around for as long as women have been having unplanned pregnancies. Women have tried to end their pregnancies with all kinds of medications, remedies and charms. In most cases, these types of abortion were ineffective and they could also be very harmful to the woman’s health. Abortion was only but it was only legalised in 1967 and there are still strict legal regulations in place.

Unusual Methods of Abortion from the Past

Here are some of the strangest beliefs about abortion from history.

  • Roman physician Pliny the Elder suggested that crossing over the egg of a crow could cause an abortion
  • One ancient Egyptian text suggests that crocodile dung could induce an abortion, although it was far more likely to leave women with infections than to end a pregnancy
  • Victorians believed that the pain of pulling a tooth could trigger a miscarriage, so it was used as a method of abortion up to the 1870s

Although we can read about these methods of abortion in old texts, they would not have been effective at ending pregnancies. Women did have other methods to turn to, including some that resemble the modern surgical abortion procedures. However, without the right instruments and a modern understanding of hygiene, these old abortion techniques could be very dangerous.

So is Abortion legal in South Africa?


Why do women terminate pregnancies?

There are several reasons for choosing abortion and each womens’ reason is valid. 

What is the difference between a safe and unsafe way of ending a pregnancy?

People often use the terms “safe abortion” and “legal abortion” interchangeably, but safe abortions are not always legal and vice versa.

For an abortion to be considered safe, it needs to fit the following criteria:

  • the method is recommended by the WHO and is appropriate to the gestational period (how “far along” you are in pregnancy)
  • the procedure is done by a trained professional

An unsafe abortion is one that does not fill all of the above criteria.

Some experts use three different tiersTrusted Source to categorize abortions: safe, less safe, and least safe.

  • Safe abortions fill both of the above criteria.
  • Less safe abortions fill one, but not both, of the above criteria.
  • Least safe abortions fill neither of the above criteria.

What Are the recommended safe abortion procedures?

The medical process can only be used if you are less than 9 weeks pregnant. The abortion is performed by using a combination of two medications which work together to terminate the pregnancy. The first medication blocks the hormone called progesterone. Without progesterone the pregnancy will not be sustained. The second medication opens the cervix (mouth of the womb) and causes the uterus (womb) to contract, this will cause the pregnancy to be expelled. After you take the medication, the process is completed at home.

The process may be performed up to 20 weeks of pregnancy but is less complicated the earlier it is completed. You will be seen by a provider at one of our centres, who will examine you and may perform an ultrasound to confirm how far pregnant you are. You may be given medication to open the cervix (mouth of the womb). The procedure is then completed using a suction technique to remove the pregnancy.

Where to get a safe abortion procedure

Our nurses and doctors are accredited professionals, in sexual and reproductive healthcare. Our work is strictly governed by the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (amended 2008), and Cavewell abortion clinic adheres to World Health Organisation Guidelines and protocols

If you or a loved one need abortion care, try to avoid crisis pregnancy centers. Although they look like legitimate health clinics, crisis pregnancy centers are designed to talk people out of having an abortion.

How does it feel to have an abortion?


What to do after an abortion!

When you do an abortion at cavewell abortion clinic, and you elect to start a contraceptive method on the day of your procedure, we include the contraceptive as part of the package.

Medical abortion: Post-abortion family planning is available on the day of the service and includes: contraceptive pills, the contraceptive patch, and injectable contraceptives*

Surgical abortion: Post-abortion family planning is available on the day of the procedure and includes: contraceptive pills, the contraceptive patch, injectable contraceptives, and the intra-uterine contraceptive device (i.e.: copper-IUD)*. In some instances, it may not be possible for the IUD to be placed on the same day, if this is the case, and you elect to come back on another day for an IUD to be inserted, the standard fee (family planning consultation plus the cost of the IUD device) would apply.

*IUS ( e.g.Mirena, Kyleena) devices are not bundled in the post-abortion package. If you would like an IUS fitted, then please note that you will be required to purchase your own device and be eligible for the cost of the fitting of the IUS.

Myths about abortion

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Learn More

When abortions are performed by trained medical professionals using safe, proven methods, the chances of experiencing any complications are extremely low. In fact, women who receive abortions in these circumstances often experience no adverse effects at all. This is why it is critical for healthcare providers to offer comprehensive reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortions, to ensure that women have access to the care they need in a safe and supportive environment.

When women are given the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding their own healthcare, without fear of judgement or stigma, they are better equipped to advocate for themselves and receive the care they need.

You can learn more about abortion from the articles below:- 

The following sources might also be helpful

Video explanation of how medication abortion works

Is medical abortion the right option?

If you are considering an abortion, it is important to weigh all of your options carefully. Seeking support from your partner, friends and family or even considering counselling  from a medical provider will give you a clear aspect of what’s best for you. You will be prepared and also make informed decisions about the pregnancy that will impact and shape your future.   

Medical abortion may be one option available to you, women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant.

It is important to note that medical abortion is not suitable for all women. If you have a medical condition, such as a blood clotting disorder, liver or kidney disease, or an allergy to medications, you may not be a good candidate for medical abortion. Additionally, women who have an ectopic pregnancy (where the embryo grows outside of the uterus) or are unsure of the duration of their pregnancy should not consider medical abortion.

but it is important to understand the process, risks, and potential side effects associated with this procedure. Your medical history, the stage of your pregnancy, and your personal beliefs and values may also play a role in determining whether medical abortion is the right choice for you.

. Ultimately, the decision to undergo a medical abortion is a complex and personal one, and it is important to prioritize your physical and emotional well-being throughout the process.

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Where to have a safe abortion?

It is important that women are aware of their options when it comes to having a safe and legal abortion. One option is to seek services at their nearest public hospital or private abortion clinic, where trained medical professionals are available to provide proper medical care and support. Whether it is a personal decision or a medical emergency, it is crucial that women have access to safe and reliable sources of medical care. Additionally, women should also have access to accurate and comprehensive information about the procedure, as well as any potential risks and complications involved. This can help them to make an informed decision and to receive the care and support they need throughout the process. Seeking out professional help for abortion services can help to ensure that women receive the best possible care and support during this challenging time.


Telehealth, also known as Tele-abortion is a relatively new and innovative way for individuals seeking to receive safe and effective treatment without having to physically visit a women’s clinic. This process allows people to order medication online from a licensed healthcare provider, giving them greater access to reproductive healthcare services from the comfort of their own homes.

Through tele-abortion, individuals can receive confidential medical guidance and counseling, as well as access to medication that can end a pregnancy early on. This approach is particularly beneficial for those who live in remote areas, are unable to travel, or feel uncomfortable seeking care in person. By making reproductive healthcare services more accessible and convenient, tele-abortion is helping to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health.

Early termination of pregnancy: What to expect

An early pregnancy termination procedures involve medically ending a pregnancy during the first trimester before the fetus is considered viable. It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider the different methods available, as well as any potential side effects and risks associated with each. Some common methods include medication abortion, which involves taking pills to end the pregnancy, and aspiration abortion, which involves using suction to remove the contents of the uterus. Your healthcare provider will also discuss any necessary follow-up appointments to ensure that the pregnancy has been fully terminated and to monitor for any complications. It is important to make an informed decision about your reproductive healthcare and to have the support and resources you need during this process. Please do not hesitate to ask your healthcare provider any questions you may have about early pregnancy termination procedures.

How effective are the medical abortion pills

Medical abortion pills have been found to be an incredibly effective method of terminating a pregnancy. When used as directed by a medical professional, these pills have shown to be highly successful at safely terminating pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation. They work by disrupting the development of the pregnancy and causing the uterus to contract and expel the tissue. This process is typically less invasive and less risky than surgical abortion procedures, making it a popular choice for many individuals seeking to end a pregnancy. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of these pills can vary based on individual circumstances and medical history. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before making any decisions about abortion or other reproductive healthcare options.

Abortion pill side effects.


Abortion pills are a commonly used method to terminate a pregnancy. While this solution can be effective, there are side effects that can occur. One of the most common side effects is nausea, which is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the stomach, often accompanied by an inclination to vomit. This is because these medications can cause an upset stomach, which can lead to feelings of queasiness and sickness. Vomiting is another side effect that has been associated with the use of abortion pills. This is the act of forcefully expelling the contents of one’s stomach through the mouth. While these side effects are not pleasant, it is important to remember that they are usually temporary and will subside as the medication wears off. However, if you experience any severe side effects, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Risks associated with medical abortion

Medical abortions are a fairly common method of terminating a pregnancy. As with any medical procedure, there may be potential risks and side effects that come with it. However, it is important to note that these risks are quite rare and most women experience no complications at all. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of a medical abortion with a healthcare provider to determine if it is the right option for an individual’s circumstances. Additionally, following post-abortion care instructions closely can help reduce the risk of complications. It is also important to remember that medical abortions are a safe and effective option for those who are seeking to terminate a pregnancy and should be approached with care and support.

Self-care post-medical abortion.


When it comes to taking care of yourself after a medical abortion, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind. One of the most crucial of these is placing a strong emphasis on self-care in the aftermath of the procedure in order to ensure that you experience a healthy and speedy recovery. This can involve a variety of different steps, such as getting plenty of rest and maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, as well as staying hydrated and taking any necessary medications as directed by your healthcare provider. Additionally, you may want to consider using hot or cold compresses to alleviate any discomfort or pain that you are experiencing, as well as avoiding strenuous exercise or activities that may put undue stress on your body as you heal. By prioritizing self-care in the days and weeks after a medical abortion, you can give yourself the best possible chance of regaining your strength and getting back to feeling like yourself once again.

Pregnancy After abortion

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Follow-up appointments


Attending your follow-up appointments is incredibly crucial for both the health care provider and you as the patient. This helps keep a close eye on your medical condition and monitor the progress of your recovery. Most of the times during the follow up consultations, doctors carefully assess your symptoms and any changes that have occurred since your last visit.

Myths About Abortion


I wanted to take a moment to emphasize the importance of following up with your healthcare provider after having an abortion procedure. While the procedure itself can be a difficult decision, it is equally important to take care of yourself afterwards.

By scheduling a follow-up appointment, you ensure that any potential concerns or complications are addressed and that your recovery is progressing as it should. Your healthcare provider can also provide you with any necessary resources or support you may need during this time.

Remember, your physical and emotional well-being are both important in your healing process, and by taking the necessary steps to care for yourself, you are prioritizing your health and future success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for any additional guidance or support you may need.

According to the latest statistical data on medical abortions, it has been established that women tend to opt for this method for a variety of compelling reasons. These reasons may include, but are not limited to, concerns such as financial difficulties, contraceptive failures, personal and family obligations, medical conditions, or simply a personal choice. It is worth noting that this information is based on extensive research and surveys that have been conducted among women who have undergone medical abortions. These statistics not only reflect the wide range of factors that can lead to this choice, but also highlight the importance of education and access to safe and legal medical procedures. As public awareness and understanding of reproductive rights continue to grow, it is likely that these statistics may evolve in both their scope and meaning in the years to come.


It is important to seek the guidance and assistance of qualified medical professionals who can provide you with the necessary information and support. Remember that every woman’s experience is unique and that by properly informed, you can make the best decisions for your situation.

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