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Terminations and abortions <h2 class="sectHeading">How do abortions work?</h2><p><strong>Abortions can be carried out in two ways:</strong></p><p> <strong>A medical abortion</strong>: Your doctor will give you medication that induces abortion.<br><strong>A surgical abortion</strong>: Your doctor will perform a surgical procedure.</p><p>Terminations are performed by trained health care workers during the first 12 weeks (and sometimes up to 20 weeks) of the pregnancy. Speak to your health care professional about the appropriate approach for you. Only in unusual cases will abortions be done after 20 weeks, such as if the mother’s life is in danger.</p><p> <b>If you have had an abortion, you may experience:</b></p><ul><li>irregular bleeding or spotting for the first two weeks;</li><li>cramping (like menstrual cramps) for the first two weeks (some women may have cramping for up to six weeks); and</li><li>emotional reactions for two to three weeks.</li></ul><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info toptip"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Top tip</h4><p>If you are younger than 18, it helps to be accompanied by a trusted adult for support.</p></div></div><h2 class="sectHeading">Know your rights</h2><p>Every woman in South Africa has the right to a free and safe abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, sometimes up to 20 weeks, depending on the circumstances. </p><span><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info remember">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Remember</h4><p> No one can force you to terminate a pregnancy and no one has the right to force you not to. </p></div></div></span><p>You can have an abortion at any age, but you will be required to sign an informed consent form giving permission for the abortion to be done. Your abortion is confidential – you can choose who you want to tell.</p><h2 class="sectHeading">Find a clinic</h2><p>Your nearest <a href="">City health clinic</a> can assist with the procedure or with referring you to a registered facility that offers safe and legal pregnancy terminations. If you need counselling, ask your clinic to refer you to someone you can talk to.</p><p>Government hospitals, some private doctors and gynaecologists, and non-profit providers such as <a href="" target="_blank">provincial facilities<i class="icon link-external"></i></a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Marie Stopes<i class="icon link-external"></i></a> also offer safe and legal pregnancy termination.</p><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact"></i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Fast fact</h4><p>Emergency contraception is not the same as an abortion. The ‘emergency pill’ (also known as ‘the morning after pill’) will prevent you from falling pregnant after unprotected sex within a certain period of time. Go to a nearest clinic within 5 days if you have had unprotected sex. Read more about <a href="">Emergency contraception</a>.</p></div></div>GP0|#90296400-9bf8-43ea-a37b-ecec7ac31843;L0|#090296400-9bf8-43ea-a37b-ecec7ac31843|Terminations and abortions;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#8c1a435d-1a59-4906-9aa9-46d5f5bb3d48;GPP|#090e430c-3809-42d5-a80b-caea93b2beaf;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711;GP0|#c009af37-8280-43f4-b3e2-9628450c6392;L0|#0c009af37-8280-43f4-b3e2-9628450c6392|Terminations and abortions;GPP|#f15ff79b-8e99-4fb7-a759-dfcb94d874e2;GPP|#063a6668-d6cb-4c45-adaf-f559697b85fdFind out about safe and legal termination of pregnancy (abortion), what your rights are, and where to get extra support.





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