In a landmark decision on June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a nearly 50-year law protecting the rights of women to medical privacy and safe, legal abortions. The policy allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is at risk, explains women’s health specialist Kayla Beare who joins this week’s episode of Sisters Without Shame.
The 1973 ruling affirmed that women had the right to seek abortion up until the point where a foetus could be viable outside of the uterus. Eleven states have heavily restricted abortion while 12 states have laws in place to quickly restrict access to abortion, explains Beare.
“People are not going to stop wanting or needing abortions. They are just going to have to go further to find them or they are going to have to find access to unsafe abortions. Making abortion illegal doesn’t stop abortions, it just stops safe abortions.”
Beare specialises in constructions of sexual consent and how our cultural and societal understandings of consent feed into South Africa’s high gender-based violence rates.
She focuses on how power structures like patriarchy, racism, and colonialism impact how we understand consent. She is a double master’s degree graduate with a master’s in psychology from the University of Cape Town and a master’s in women’s health from University College London.
What abortions laws look like in Mzansi
Since February 1997, it has been legal for women to request abortions under the Choice om Termination of Pregnancy Act.
Abortion is free at government hospitals and telemedical services including Marie Stopes South African and the Abortion Clinic Johannesburg.
In this episode, Beare also unpacks:
- Women’s reproductive rights.
- American influence over women’s reproductive health.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
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