Nursing the stigma : conflicting realities of abortion

Raad, Rene (2018-11-27)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In 1996, South African women gained the right to exercise “control over their bodies” through the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOPA). This was a crucial advance for women, as it represented the recognition of reproductive rights by South Africa’s first democratically elected government. In 2018, despite having this public service available, many South African women still seek out informal abortion services or pay to have their pregnancy terminated at private healthcare facilities. With the legal framework of the CTOPA supporting a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, there should be little need for additional services outside of the public healthcare sector, yet the large number of advertisements for unaccredited abortion services plastered on the walls of public transport and lamp posts suggest otherwise. Various explanations are offered for why women do not make use of state-sanctioned, formal abortion services, including social stigmatization, religious dissuasion, and lack of knowledge of available services. Another possible reason that deters South African women seeking to safely terminate their pregnancies is that public healthcare providers leave women feeling degraded and ashamed. In this thesis, however, I examine the experiences and perspectives of those who are involved in providing safe and legal abortion services and explore how these providers navigate the moral ambiguities of a woman’s right to choose. By spending time in three non-governmental organization healthcare facilities, I reflect on the experiences of Termination of Pregnancy providers in their everyday life – experiences that are constituted and mediated by the various collectives with whom they identify and in which they form their individual moral codes. I do this to understand better how ethical and moral dilemmas are negotiated and how this shapes the understanding of what it means to access the right to safe and legal termination of pregnancy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 1996 het Suid-Afrikaanse vroue die reg gekry om ‘beheer oor hul liggame’ uit te oefen deur die Wet op Keuse oor die Beëindiging van Swangerskap. Dit was baie belangrike vooruitgang vir vroue, aangesien dit die erkenning van voortplantingsregte deur Suid-Afrika se eerste demokraties verkose regering verteenwoordig het. Ondanks die beskikbaarheid van hierdie openbare diens, versoek talle Suid-Afrikaanse vroue in 2018 steeds informele aborsiedienste of betaal om hul swangerskap by privaat gesondheidsorgfasiliteite te laat beëindig. Aangesien die regsraamwerk van bogenoemde wet vroue se reg om hul swangerskap te beëindig, ondersteun, behoort daar min behoefte te wees aan bykomende dienste buite die openbare gesondheidsorgsektor, tog dui die groot hoeveelheid advertensies vir ongeakkrediteerde aborsiedienste wat wyd en syd op die mure van openbare vervoer en lamppale geplak word op die teendeel. Verskeie verduidelikings word voorgehou waarom vroue nie gebruik maak van staatsgoedgekeurde, formele aborsiedienste nie, insluitende sosiale stigmatisering, godsdienstige ontmoediging en gebrek aan kennis van beskikbare dienste. Nog ʼn moontlike rede wat Suid-Afrikaanse vroue daarvan weerhou om hul swangerskap veilig te beëindig, is dat openbare gesondheidsorgverskaffers vroue verneder en skaam laat voel. Hierdie studie het ʼn ondersoek behels na die ervarings en perspektiewe van partye betrokke by die verskaffing van veilige en wettige aborsiedienste en die manier waarop hierdie verskaffers die morele dubbelsinnighede van ʼn vrou se reg om te kies, hanteer. Op grond van tyd deurgebring by die gesondheidsorgfasiliteite van drie nieregeringsorganisasies besin ek oor die ervarings van verskaffers van swangerskapbeëindiging in hul daaglikse lewe – ervarings wat deur die onderskeie gemeenskappe met wie hulle hul vereenselwig en waarin hulle hul individuele morele kodes vorm, saamgestel en bemiddel word. Dit is gedoen in ʼn poging om beter te verstaan hoe etiese en morele dilemmas hanteer word en hoe dit begrip vorm van wat dit beteken om toegang te hê tot veilige en wettige swangerskapbeëindiging.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104993
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