What can I do to prevent my community from backdoor abortions?

By Dineo Mokwena

One day you may walk down the road and not see the same young girl you saw everyday, coming from school for the past three years at the same time. You may wonder what happened to her but not ask questions because she’s not your friend. She’s a total stranger, but you grew attached. She was familiar to you, a constant in your life that never failed to disappoint you. Tomorrow you will open Twitter or Facebook and read a story about a girl who died from a backdoor abortion.

Your gut tells you “it’s her” but the story does not have her real name. You start to investigate and try to unpack your memory of your past interactions? Did she look sick? Did I see a bump? Did she have a boyfriend?

You realize that isn’t important because she’s dead already. It’s too late to wonder about the parts of her life you neglected to wonder about. What do you do now?

Posters offering “cheap and pain free” abortion litter the streets with no more than one sentence and a phone number. How convenient? We think to ourselves: these people are taking advantage of vulnerable women and they don’t care because they are in it for the money.

We walk past these posters on a daily basis and do nothing about it. Why? Because their marketing strategy is just that good. Remember the days where you would see a can of Coke in every fridge, on every street corner and on every second billboard? Bombarding people with information repeatedly works.

Why do corporates fail? We can’t just say “Safe and Legal abortion” SMS “Fem” to 30705. I guess we can, but it won’t work. Providing such a service means not only facilitating access to abortion procedures but we also have the responsibility to provide our users accurate information. Safe assistance takes time and more words should be provided to explain our service…  Unlike unsafe backdoor services, who can offer one sentence with no further communication.

Could we remove the posters? Could we replace the posters? What can we do to ensure that people stop going to backdoor abortion providers? To be honest, there’s very little we can actually do.

We are trying to change people’s perceptions and their understanding of a world they have built for themselves with the help of intense communication strategies. How do you compete and get rid of previous ideals? It’s a lengthy process and, at the end of the day, it comes down to exposing people to their rights. To educate them on how things really work and to break the stigma around abortion. To provide them with alternative methods of care.

That’s what Fem is about. Connecting women to their sexual health choices. Introducing women to a new abortion perspective, where they receive all the attention and proper care they deserve. Free of stigma and any sort of violence. If you want to prevent your community from unsafe backdoor abortions, introduce them to this platform. Invite them to SMS “Fem” to 30705 and we’ll take it from here.

About Fem – Connecting you to sexual health choices

Fem supports the right of every woman to make safe and informed decisions about her body, most specifically the decision to have an abortion. We focus on the practical issues that are often overlooked by existing healthcare systems: privacy, transparency, convenience, cost, and supportive environments.

Fem is an SMS platform that refers women to safe and legal abortion service providers in their area, quickly and privately. The user simply sends the trigger word ‘Fem’ to the short code 30705 via SMS, and receives a referral SMS to a legal and safe health facility in their area.

To access all our products SMS for free the word “Fem” to 30705.

Find us as @Fem_RSA and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and suscribe to our Youtube channel.