Pretoria - Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu has called on law enforcement agencies to crack down on people performing back street abortions.
This follows a report in a newspaper about a booming illegal abortion business in Soweto where cytotec, tablets used to terminate pregnancies, are sold to heavily pregnant women..
According to the report, the tablets, which should be prescribed by a doctor and administered in a proper health care facility, are being sold to pregnant women on the street.
Mahlangu warned women against the use of illegal methods of terminating pregnancies as they poses danger to expectant mothers.
She urged women wishing to terminate their pregnancies to make use of government health facilities, where the service is offered free of charge.
"Taking the legal route is essential in maintaining both your reproductive health and preventing complications such as severe bleeding, tearing of the cervix, severe damage to the genitals and abdomen or even death.
"At government health facilities, the procedure is done by qualified health practitioners using drugs and equipment kept under correct environment and temperatures for its effectiveness," she said.
She further noted that the health setting also allows health workers to deal immediately with any complications that may arise.
In South Africa, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 allows expectant mothers to terminate their pregnancy if she is within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This procedure can also be performed from the 13th to 20th week of pregnancy if approved by a medical practitioner.