THE Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) has called for the repealing of the Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1997 which barres women from engaging in wilful termination of pregnancy outside prescribed circumstances.
According to the Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1997 [Chapter 15:10], no woman is allowed to terminate pregnancy willingly unless under scenarios such as rape, incest and medical complications.
In a statement, ZDHR said the ACT was doing more harm than good to the majority of young women who are losing lives in the process of conducting backyard abortions.
“ZDHR notes with deep concern and interest in the current discussions around abortion in the country. We also recogise that such discussions around abortion are deeply rooted not only within the public health spectrum but also in moral, cultural and religious considerations.
“Despite this, of the 526 maternal deaths for every 100 000 live births in Zimbabwe, 20 percent are due to illegal abortions and half of which occur among adolescents. As ZDHR, we contend that once a woman decides to have an abortion, she is most likely going to through the process regardless of of it being illegal,” said ZDHR.
They added that the fact that abortion is illegal makes it even more dangerous for women as they pursue unorthodox means of terminating the pregnancies.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) posits that access to safe and affordable abortion facilities is part of the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and the constitution of Zimbabwe in section 76 guarantees access to sexual and reproductive health services and right to life (Section 48).
The abortion issue however is still a contentious issue in parliament.