'Backstreet abortions still happening'

Govt. says a large number of backstreet abortions still occur even though the process was legalised.

A pregnant belly. Picture: www.sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's abortion laws have not affected the number of backstreet abortions, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Cheryllyn Dudley said on Wednesday.

New abortion statistics were released on Tuesday which show a sharp increase in abortion in public facilities.

The biggest spike in abortion between 2010 and 2011 was in the North West, where reported abortions jumped from 1585 to 12,138 in just one year.

Overall abortions rose by almost 25 percent to 77, 771.

But The ACDP claimed backstreet abortions had not dropped now that procedures were legal.

The Department of Health spokesperson Joe Maile said he was concerned about backstreet abortions, but have no statistics on it.

"We might not necessarily know the extent of backstreet abortions, but they are happening. If you walk around the streets you will see posters advertising abortions."

About 1,380 abortions that took place in 2011 were for women under the age of 18.