Abortion Laws and Policies
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Access to abortion is a fundamental human right and a basic healthcare. If you live in a country where access to abortion is restricted, you can get abortion pills through Women on Web.
Abortion is permitted on request up to 12 weeks. It is permitted up to 20 weeks of pregnancy for economic or social reasons and in cases of incest, rape or if the pregnancy endangers the woman or person’s physical or mental health. It is also permitted in case of fetal impairment or if the pregnancy endangers the woman or person’s life. For these cases no limitation regarding the lengths of pregnancy is mentioned in the legal text.
Abortion is covered by all medical aids in South Africa. This is because abortion is a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB). Prescribed minimum benefits are all the conditions that the government says all medical aids have to cover. You can submit your invoice to your medical aid for reimbursement or they might pay your healthcare provider directly. You could call your medical aid in advance to see what options they offer with your particular healthcare provider. If you have any difficulty tell them abortion is a PMB according to the Medical Schemes Act.
Abortion providers and any people assisting may be criminalized for an abortion outside of the legal conditions specified in the law.
Medical practitioners and providers have the right to refuse abortion services based on personal beliefs. However, medical practitioners and providers are obligated to refer individuals to another provider if they refuse service.
About Abortion Pills
An abortion with pills is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy at home. There are two ways to have an abortion with pills:
- Have an abortion with a pill called Mifepristone and another pill called Misoprostol;
- Have an abortion with the pill Misoprostol only.
You already have abortion pills? Find instructions, information around dosage, safety precautions and tips here or contact the Women on Web Help Desk Team to guide you through the process at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mifepristone is officially registered by the country’s pharmaceutical authority.
A doctor's prescription may be required to get Mifepristone.
Mifepristone is distributed in pharmacies.
Misoprostol is officially registered by the country’s pharmaceutical authority.
There is no data available on whether Misoprostol is registered for gynecological indications (such as birth, miscarriage treatment or abortion care etc.), or if it is registered for other purposes only (such as arthritis or gastric ulcers etc.)..
A doctor's prescription may be required to get Misoprostol.
Misoprostol is distributed in pharmacies.
These are brand names under which Mifepristone, Misoprostol or Combi Packs (that contain both abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol) are officially distributed and/or commonly found in the country.
ARTHROTEC 50 and 75*, 200mcg, *contains Diclofenac!
RHEUTHROTEC 50 and 75*, 200mcg, *contains Diclofenac!
Safety notice: There are pills that contain a combination of Misoprostol and the painkiller Diclofenac. While manufactured for a different purpose they can still be used for abortion. Please find more info in our FAQ to avoid overdosing the Diclofenac.
Cost of Abortion Pills
These are comments about the estimated cost of abortion pills in your country.
- "Combination mifepristone and misoprostol R900, Misoprostol alone R180 in pharmacies" - Abortion Support South Africa, June 2023
The actual costs of abortion pills are often difficult to determine, vary and change over time. Fill out our questionnaire to add and share your experience.
Organizations and Resources
- Women on Web
Abortion pill access by mail
- Abortion Support South Africa
Abortion pill access by prescription.
1. Visit www.abortionsupport.co.za to connect with a doctor who can prescribe abortion pills.
2. You can collect your medicines from a pharmacy near you. Abortion pills cost R180 (misoprostol alone) or R800 (mifepristone and misoprostol) that you pay at the pharmacy. There are no other fees for this service.
3. The doctor provides instructions on how to safely manage your abortion at home.
Abortion with pills at home is an option for you if your pregnancy is 10 weeks or less.
- Marie Stopes South Africa
Safe Abortion Services, Post-Abortion Care, Contraception, STI and HIV Screening, Women's Wellness (Pap Smears, HPV testing, Breast Exam). The fees are cross-subsidised across the network, centres can offer prices that best suit the communities they serve. Abortion pills by post with telephone consultation.
0800 11 77 85
Marie Stopes South Africa on Facebook.
@mariestopes_sa on Instagram
@mariestopes_sa on Twitter
- South African Government
The website and information for the Republic of South Africa
Abortion is provided free of charge at many government clinics and hospitals.
You can find a clinic using the Where to Care Map, the Siza Map or contact Abortion Support Facebook Group.
The information on these maps may not be updated. You can go to our nearest clinic for a referral if you are struggling to find help.
Watch out for fake abortion clinics and sellers online. See or contribute to our list of scams & stay safe!
Join this project
This collection of data is an ongoing and collaborative project that relies on your contributions and corrections to thrive. Did you have an abortion? Did you get scammed looking for abortion pills? Do you know a friendly feminist organization which can help? Are you an abortion activist, doctor or part of an organization? Please share and fill out our questionnaire or contact us here.
Other Databases and Sources
These are the sources and databases used to gather the information listed on this country profile.
- 14.12.2022/WHO, Global Abortion Policies Database: https://abortion-policies.srhr.org/country/south-africa/
- 03.11.2022/Medical Abortion Commodities Database: https://medab.org/search?field_brand_name_target_id=All&field_country_of_sale_target_id=204
- 03.11.2022/safe2choose: https://safe2choose.org/abortion-information/countries/south-africa
- 03.11.2022/howtouseabortionpill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/abortion-laws-by-country/southAfrica/
- 03.11.2022/National Medicine Authority: https://www.sahpra.org.za/
- 03.11.2022/National Medicine Databank: https://www.sahpra.org.za/registered-health-products/
- 14.12.2022/Reproductive Rights Map: https://reproductiverights.org/maps/worlds-abortion-laws/?country=ZAF
- 14.12.2022/Map of Norms regarding Conscientious Objection: https://www.redaas.org.ar/conscientious-objection-map
If you think the information displayed on this page is not correct or is outdated, please send us your updates and corrections!
We appreciate your collaboration.