Marie Stopes South Africa has just launched a new healthcare centre in Central Johannesburg focused on women. The aim behind the clinic is to empower women with the freedom to have children by choice, not chance. With a desperate need for access to safe abortions in South Africa, this could not have come any sooner. Despite abortions being legal in South Africa, the stigma (including among health professionals), lack of information and limited availability of safe services sees many women disempowered.

What should women know about the clinic?

This is a clinic built to facilitate women taking control over their own health and fertility. The clinic is open from 8:30am to 7pm on weekdays and from 8:30am to 5pm on Saturdays. Situated in Ghandi Square, in the heart of Johannesburg, this clinic is deliberately placed in a location that is not intimidating or inaccessible.

What can the clinic do for us?

The Gandhi Healthcare Centre has a holistic sexual and reproductive health offering which includes a full range of services. The services will include safe abortions, HIV tests and counselling, pap smears, STI screenings and treatment, contraception provision and consultation, and emergency contraception. These services will be safe, confidential, high-quality and offered at an affordable fee. By providing access to these professional services, the clinic hopes to empower women to choose their family size and future.

How inclusive is it? 

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng delivered an inspiring speech at the launch addressing the importance of reproductive health for all women. This includes women who can’t afford it, women seeking asylum in South Africa, and transgendered people who are often excluded from receiving reproductive care.

According to Ground Up, ‘Despite South Africa’s strong pro-abortion laws, only 7% of the country’s health facilities provide abortions.’ Given this abysmal reality, new facilities and awareness of them can be critical in helping women have control over their lives, health and bodies. If you’d like to know more about what this organisation is doing on a national scale, visit Marie Stopes for more information.