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Government worried about escalating abortions

"It's clear that people are not using contraceptives like condoms, so they are also exposing themselves to serious illnesses like Aids"

A total of 77,771 legal abortions were performed in South Africa in 2011, which indicated a 31% increase since 2010, according to a report on Monday.

In 2010, the health department said, 59,447 abortions were carried out.

The latest statistics translate to nearly 25,000 more than the annual average for legal abortions over the past ten years, Beeld reported.  

The province with the highest abortion rate is the Free State, where 21,994 abortions were performed during 2011, followed by 12,138 in the North West and 11,239 in Gauteng.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi released the statistics, in response to a parliamentary question.

His spokesman, Joe Maila, said the latest figures were a matter of great concern.

“We are very worried. Not only about the high statistics, but also about the fact that so many people are having unprotected sex... it’s clear that people are not using contraceptives like condoms, so they are exposing themselves to serious illnesses like Aids,” he said.

Cheryllyn Dudley, an African Christian Democratic Party MP, said her party was very disappointed in the latest figures.

"It looks like we’re moving in a direction where human life is being increasingly disregarded and treated with contempt. People are becoming so cold-hearted."

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