Abortion Women procuring abortions through Facebook

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Many women have been buying abortion pills from people hawking them on Facebook.

In Lesotho, a remote country home to just 2.2 million people and surrounded by South Africa, abortion is strictly illegal, apart from in life-threatening cases.

Women who have abortions in Lesotho face being outcast from their communities, or arrested.

As a result, many are driven to the anonymity of the Internet. Many young women have found contact details on Facebook for several men claiming to be doctors, all hawking abortion pills.


A quick search on Facebook yields dozens of different pages and events advertising abortions, many featuring stock images of white women popping tablets, or holding their pregnant bellies.

Their posts offer "safe" abortion pills. All sell the same hope to young women in Lesotho.

play Chats between an undercover CNN journalist and a doctor who procures abortion (CNN)


Facebook is by far the most popular social media network in Lesotho. The overwhelming number of ads were found on that platform, but could be on other sites too.

The Ministry of health hasn't been able to determine the precise number of women who have had health complications, or died, as a result of unsafe abortion procedures, because most women don't disclose whether they've had a procedure in the first place.

Incomplete procedure

"What we mostly see are women who are admitted to our health facilities with incomplete abortion(s)," Dr. Limpho Maile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said.

play Chats between an undercover CNN journalist and a doctor who procures abortion (CNN)


"But without the patient disclosing that it was done illegally we cannot differentiate it from the normal patients needing this service due to miscarriages."

Religion is a big part of why abortion is taboo, and illegal, in Lesotho. According to a report, 90% of the population identifies as Christian, and the Catholic Church remains a prominent part of the country's culture.

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