Some pro-abortion clinics seem to have found a lucrative market in Botswana as a result of the criminalisation of abortion in this country.
Most of these ‘clinics’ are now using the power of the social media to target pregnant Batswana women through advertisements, especially by creating Facebook pages. Of late, the social network site has been flooded with advertisements luring pregnant Batswana women to terminate their pregnancies.
A Facebook search for “abortion clinic” will promptly give one the following pages: Abortion Clinic Botswana, MediClinic Botswana, Botswana Gaborone, Abortion Clinic and Pills, Safe Abortion Pills Clinic Botswana, and so on.
In spite of the fact that most of the above ‘clinics’ claim to be in Botswana, they all bear the South African international country calling code of “+27” and they claim to operate 24 hours every day.
Going through one of the pages, there is a post that reads: “We offer safe surgical and non-surgical abortions with the most experienced doctors and trusted pills which are delivered in the most important towns like Serowe, Palapye, Kasane, Francistown, Gaborone, Maun, Lobatse, Pitsane-Molopo, Phikwe, Manzini, Mbabane, Mariental, Koes Karas, Maseru, Lesotho, and in Namibia and Swaziland.
“We help women with unwanted pregnancies from 1-week until 27 weeks. The costs are affordable. Remember, the earlier the better!”
A post on another page reads, “SAFE ABORTION PILLS WHEREVER YOU ARE. FREE DELIVERY WORLDWIDE pain free and a same day service. It is a 45 minutes procedure.
“We use tested abortion pills and we do womb cleaning as well. We operate from 1-week to 6-months. FREE DELIVERY WORLDWIDE. Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia. Contact us for more details.”
While abortion is legal in South Africa, in Botswana it not and if found guilty, it carries stiff penalties. However, in 1991 the Penal Code was amended to allow it in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy under special circumstances, including if the pregnancy was a result of rape, incest, or defilement, if the woman is mentally deficient, if the woman’s physical or mental health is at risk or if the child would be born with a serious physical or mental abnormality.
The abortion could only be performed after two medical doctors had approved it.
It has been reported that women who cannot afford safe and legal abortions resort to street abortion due to the restrictive laws. The police have also conceded that there has been an increase in the number of attempted abortion, concealment of birth, which involves a woman going through a pregnancy and killing the baby after birth, and baby dumping, which happens when a mother leaves her child without any further interest in it.
Most aborted or abandoned babies are usually found inside waste plastic bags by government’s waste management personnel or recovered from inside pit latrines.
Recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed that every year 19 million unsafe abortions occur in developing countries resulting in 47, 000 deaths. Also, Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso, was earlier quoted as saying that abortion should be legalised.
Some organisations locally are concerned with the high numbers of unsafe abortions reported by the Ministry of Health in Botswana. They say it is high time young women stood up and used the semi-liberal abortion law in Botswana.
But Christians are adamant that abortion should not be legalised. They state that as a country fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it will be counterproductive to condone abortion. They describe abortion as an abomination that tarnishes the image of the culprit as well. Christians believe that pregnancy is one of God’s special miracles of bringing life to this earth, therefore, regardless of how that child was conceived no one has the right to destroy its life.
Botswana is still a majority Christian country, with over 70 percent of its population belonging to the various denominations, and its Christian leadership has spoken out against this latest call for legalisation.
Anti-abortion activists concur that abortion is not family planning since it affects the whole system of pregnancy.