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Abortion rate alarms Health Dept

Officials say 89,000 abortions took place in public hospitals in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Officials say 89,000 abortions took place in public hospitals in the 2012/2013 financial year. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Health on Thursday said it is alarmed at the number of abortions in South Africa during the 2012/2013 financial year.

Speaking in Parliament, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said 89,000 abortions took place at public hospitals alone.

He says teenage pregnancies accounted for a large section of the figures.

Department spokesperson Joe Maila says they are looking to seriously deal with prevention issues.

But he said the country had a steep hill to climb in bringing down maternal mortality rates.

Motsoaledi said teenage girls accounted for eight percent of pregnancies.

He further revealed that girls under 18 accounted for 36 percent of maternal deaths in the country.

The minister said that figure could be slashed within a year if girls under 18 had easier access to family planning.