Science, Medicine and Cultural Imperialism

pp 120-147

Herbs, Knives and Plastic: 150 Years of Abortion in South Africa

  • Helen Bradford


To talk publicly about abortion in South Africa today is to break a taboo. To scream privately during an abortion is to risk prosecution for breaking the law. Since the vast majority of abortions are illegal, some back-street operators demand complete silence:

He said to me, Annie, you can’t scream. He said, I know it’s sore, you can’t scream. You have to shut up … I was like biting the pillow and had to come out of there and like — sort of act very normal. I could hardly walk.1