South African student Jessica* had already missed two periods when she shyly slipped into a clinic to seek an abortion in early July, as the coronavirus outbreak was reaching its peak.
Nurses scurrying to accomodate a long line of patients with varying ailments told the 19-year-old that the clinic was “fully booked” and advised her to try at a hospital.
Two months later, with the help of a local rights group lobbying hospitals to assist, Jessica was finally booked in for a procedure that required surgery — rather than pills — due to the delay.
And it was almost too late. Another dozen days would have taken Jessica past 20 weeks, the legal limit to terminate a pregnancy in South Africa.
“It was draining. It was the worst thing I have experienced,” she told AFP via telephone two weeks after the operation.
The pandemic has made access to legal abortion