Clinics battle stigma.
Although termination of pregnancy is legal in South Africa, the
stigma associated with abortion still heavily afflicts both the women
who exercise their right to take up that option and the nurses who
provide the service. Natalie Bailey has been a nurse at the Marie Stopes clinic in Cape Town for nearly 2 years. One of the challenging things
about working there is that 'everyone thinks that all we do are
abortions,' she said. 'They are not aware of the other
services we provide, such as HIV testing and counselling, family
planning, pap smears, ultrasounds and now male circumcision.'
Bailey said they face harsh judgements from both their clients and the
public. 'Some people in the community call us murderers and ask us
how we do what we do. Clients are also afraid of being seen coming in or
walking out of the clinic. When we talk to them before or after their
abortion they tell us to just provide them the services they came for so
they can leave. They do not want to be seen here or be associated with