Bioethics Blogs

Everyday violence, mobility and access to antenatal care by Nicole Ferreira

I met Libby on a cold winter morning at the clinic. She was a short woman with a strong voice and slow walk. Libby was 35 years old and taken by surprise at being pregnant again. She had one child, a son who was already 17 and whose presence filled the two hour conversation as Libby returned to stories of him. I walked with her to my car to get my flask of tea for us to share. I got the flask and we decided to stay outside to talk in the fresh air despite my concern for the quality of the audio recording. We sipped tea while she described how she had prepared to come to the clinic for her appointment on August 6th 2015. The sun only rose after 7:30 that winter day. She had left her house at 5:30am to get to the clinic, and had walked nearly two kilometres from her home in Lavender Hill (an area notorious in Cape Town for gang violence) to Retreat MOU in the dark. It took about twenty minutes.

The time I woke up it was half past four so I told myself ‘just another few minutes’ and then the alarm went off quarter to five, put on the kettle, wash my face, wash my private parts, finish breakfast cornflakes on the stoep[1], see what people is walking around, brush my hair, brush my teeth, then I came here twenty past five, half past went out of the house and came here… When I looked up it was quarter to six… my sister actually asked if she can walk me, and I said no it’s fine, I will just pray.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.