Just a few days ago I was asked to look at a page on Facebook. Calling itself “Abortion Clinic” it said this:
“um wanted pregnancies, womb cleaning in a private enviornment. @ NELSPRUIT, WITBANK, POLOKWANE, RUSTENBURG, other branches. SWAZILAND, NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA. free postal deliveries […] we can deliver the termination pills any where”He went on to say “people of Botswana I do helping them in Mafeking south africa”.
You know that it’s OK to judge someone by the quality of their English, don’t you?
Where should I begin?
Let’s start with the obvious. Whether you like it or not, regardless of your position on the termination of pregnancies, it’s currently illegal in Botswana. We all know that it happens in backstreets, we all know that it happens legitimately by women crossing the border into South Africa to have it done legally there. But it’s illegal to induce a termination in Botswana. So that’s a crime.
It’s also grossly improper to offer any medication as potent as a termination pill without a medical consultation, without seeing a doctor, without a prescription. It’s also illegal to have dreadful English if you’re a doctor. Yes it is, honestly. Well, if it isn’t it should be.
So I started doing some detective work. Despite saying that he’s “helping them in Mafeking” his Facebook profile suggests that he’s based at “15 brown street 1200 Nelspruit Mpumulanga” and that his cellphone number is +27 73 178 2608. Curiously (or maybe not) these are exactly the same contact details as those given by "Lost Lover Sheik Tabu" who can also be found on Facebook. “Sheikh Tabu” offers “Stop Seperation and divorce Spells”. He suggests that:
“If you suspect that your partner is considering either separation or divorce, use this magic spell to stop the forces that are breaking apart your relationship. It is extremely important that you act with haste since prolonged negative energies create difficulties for the potency of this spell. If your partner has already breached the subject of either separation or divorce, use the spell immediately to rekindle the love that is the basis for your marriage or relationship.”So he’s a quack, I think it’s safe to assume that. But he’s a quack that claims to perform terminations by post. How does he do this?
There was only one way to find out so I started SMSing him, pretending to be a woman who was 6-months pregnant who wanted an urgent termination. According to this crook it couldn’t be simpler. All it would take is R1,500 and I could have “termination pills and cleaning pills” “in 2 working day”. I explained that I was in Botswana and this wasn’t a problem at all. He gave me his FNB banking details in Mafeking and even gave me his name, “Kyeyune Godfrey” and reassured me that “My friend i have helped many people and i have many types of termination pills.”
I then asked whether the pills he was offering were normal medicines. Given that he’s already been shown to be a quack healer selling good luck potions I wondered whether he was selling something unorthodox. I assume he’s used to dealing with slightly more gullible people because that’s when he lost patience.
He phoned me. Given that I don’t sound like a pregnant woman on the phone I grabbed the nearest woman, Her Majesty, and got her to take the call. Using her special sad voice she spoke to him and asked him how he could help, confirming that she was six months pregnant and desperate to terminate. He told her that she should feel free to take the medication he would send her. So what exactly was it he was planning to send her?
Misoprostol is NOT a herbal concoction, it's the real thing. It’s a very powerful drug that really IS used to induce terminations.
Misoprostol is not something you fool around with. According to RxList Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec) is heavy-duty material and they provide a large warning saying:
"Uterine rupture has been reported when Cytotec was administered in pregnant women to induce labor or to induce abortion beyond the eighth week of pregnancy".So our friend is peddling drugs, knowing that it's incredibly dangerous. Anyone taking the wrong dose of this, or who takes it after the eighth week of their pregnancy is running a major risk. Any doctor selling such potent medication without even examining the patient deserves to be behind bars. Anyone who isn’t a doctor but still sells these drugs is also a criminal who deserves to be behind bars.
But maybe you think he’s doing it with the best intentions, trying to help women in distress? Not a chance. He's a crook and he knows it. I sent him a final message asking if he was a doctor of medicine. His response speaks for itself.
“Am a doctor, and did told u to come to my bunch as u know that is not allowed in Botswana even in south Africa they allow 12 weeks but am trying to help u but u asky alot of Questions”.So he knows he’s peddling drugs illegally in two different countries. He’s a crook and he knows it.
Of course it’s possible that he’s not shipping Misoprostol at all, it might just be a sugar pill. In which case he’s still a lying, cheating criminal who deserves to be behind bars.
I contacted our Ministry of Health and they were appalled to hear about this. They’ve promised to take action and inform the public of the risks. I’ve also informed the South African Health Department to see if they can’t take this crook off the streets. Here’s hoping.