If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, do not despair – there are options available to you! Before any decision is made, the pregnant woman (together with her partner, if possible) should take the time to weigh up the options and choices and decide what is the best way forward.
South Africa has many private adoption agencies and the role of the agency will be to assist pregnant mothers to find suitable adoptive parents. Before this route is considered, the birth parents will need to bear in mind that that this decision is not an easy one and should be made weighing up all the pros and cons. The social worker assigned to the case is available throughout the process to provide ongoing guidance and support.
Most private adoption agencies offer accommodation during the pregnancy and they also offer counselling sessions to the birth mother and the adoptive parents during the pregnancy and after the birth of the baby. An open or closed adoption can also be selected. With an open adoption, the birth parents, together with the adoptive parents must decide on the extent of involvement which the birth parents will have after the adoption has taken place.
Countless childless couples in South Africa are ready and willing to provide a child with a stable and loving home. An unplanned pregnancy can result in endless worries about the child’s future and if a birth mother is uncertain of how she will provide (financially and emotionally) for the child after birth, adoption may be the best decision for all parties concerned. With an adoption the birth mother is making a selfless decision which will give her unborn child a chance to a better life and the opportunity to a stable future. To find out more about adoption in South Africa, visit the Adoption SA website: www.adoptionsa.co.za
Abortion became a legal method to cope with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies in South Africa in 1997. Private clinic facilities like the Marie Stopes Clinics, which are located around South Africa in all provinces, offer safe abortions. The procedure is available to women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant and besides the surgical abortion, a medicine-induced abortion is also offered at the countrywide clinics, but for this option a woman cannot be over seven weeks pregnant. The cost of medicine-induced abortion is around R900, while the surgical abortion performed at Marie Stopes Clinic is in the region of R2000.00. A woman who is more than 20 weeks pregnant is legally not allowed to undergo an abortion, unless the mother’s life or health is in danger, or if the fetus is at risk of being born with severe health defects.
For a large number of South African women, an abortion goes against their personal, moral and religious beliefs; however, legalising abortion was seen as a way to give woman the right to choose and the right to make a decision that will ultimately affect her life.
The clinic performing the abortion on a pregnant woman under the age of 18 will recommend that the parents of the minor be consulted; however the decision to inform her parents will remain the choice of the minor. In the same vein, clinics will advise that a woman’s partner or husband be informed of the decision to abort the fetus – again the decision to inform will be at the discretion of the woman.
Counselling before and after the procedure is offered and woman can visit the Marie Stopes website to obtain more information about the procedure, www.mariestopes.org.za
– Kathy Baron