Original Articles

Knowledge, Beliefs and Attitudes Regarding Abortion in South Africa Among a Sample of University Students

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 16, issue 1, 2006 , pages: 53–58
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2006.10820104
Author(s): Kelvin MwabaUniversity of the Western Cape,, Pamela NaidooUniversity of the Western Cape,


A survey study design was used to determine the knowledge of a sample of South African university students regarding the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy (CTOP) Act and their beliefs and attitudes toward abortion. A total of 146 (110 female, 36 male) undergraduate psychology students participated in the study. As part of a larger study participants were given a questionnaire on knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and practices regarding sexuality among young South Africans. The results showed that most of the students were unaware of key provisions of the Act. The data also indicated opposition to abortion except in the case of rape or when the pregnancy posed a threat to the health of the woman. It is concluded that increasing public awareness of the Act is vital not only in improving access to abortion services but also in terms of reducing the stigma that seems to be associated with abortion in South Africa.

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