The Burden of Unsafe Abortions among Adolescent Girls

By Dr Munyaradzi Murwira Introduction Adolescents are a diverse group; their sexual and reproductive health needs and ability to meet those needs vary based on their life circumstances, including marital status and urban or rural residence. Adolescents often face a multitude of challenges in obtaining sexual and reproductive health services, including social stigma, judgmental attitudes of community, health care providers, financial constraints and lack of information. Key sexual reproductive health issues affecting youths include among others, STIs/HIV & AIDS, teenage pregnancies, unintended pregnancies, drug and substance abuse, and sexual gender…

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Discussing the intersection of abortion and gender equality

By Memory Pamella Kadau Recently, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Rishi Sunak, declared that ‘women are women and men are men.’ His comments added further controversy to the ongoing debate on gender equality and the rights of transgender individuals. However, this also presents an opportunity to interrogate issues related to gender equality, particularly on abortion. After all, the ability to control one’s body has been historically denied to women, for example, the right to when and not to have a child. Abortion, the termination of a pregnancy,…

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Demystifying safe abortion: Getting the FACTS right!

By Memory Pamella Kadau The issue of abortion is often sensitive and divisive. It separates opinions, and this is mostly due to ignorance of the facts surrounding this subject. This article looks at some of the popular MYTHS surrounding abortion and sets out the FACTS as part of enriching debate on the topic. In doing so, the article will pose a question and then highlight a popular myth which and will then counter with factual information from science and practice. What is abortion? Myth: There is tendency by anti-abortionists that…

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Access to abortion is critical for women socio-economic growth

By Memory Pamela Kadau The economy is often described as consisting of firms, government and households. Economic activities of households are determined by income, savings and what they can spend on such basics as health, food, education and clothing, socials amongst other recurrent needs of households. Of critical importance for the economic balance of the household is the number of dependents in each household. Children constitute the majority of dependents in households and meeting their needs takes up a significant amount of the household budget. In Zimbabwe, the government doesn’t…

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Going Beyond The Legal Framework On Abortion To Save Lives of Women and Girls

By Edinah Masiyiwa Nokutenda Hwaramba was a 15-year-old girl who recently died at a shrine whilst giving birth. Her life, like that of other pregnant girls giving birth in shrines, was cut short for preventable causes and this angers me so much. One of the reasons given for why girls like Nokutenda did not deliver safely in a health center is “church doctrine,”’ which left them under the care of untrained religious people. One wonders why such a doctrine is still allowed in Zimbabwe, a country which signed the Maputo…

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Values clarification workshops to improve abortion knowledge and attitudes: Post assessment

By Mufaro Musiyazviriyo The Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1977 states that it is illegal to terminate a pregnancy unless it has been sanctioned by Government authorities which includes, the court and state hospitals agreeing that the pregnancy in question was as a result of unlawful intercourse (rape/incest). The Act also allows for termination of pregnancy if the pregnancy endangers the life of the women or the child to be born will suffer from a physical or mental defect of such a nature that they will permanently be seriously handicapped.…

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Adolescents: the face of unsafe abortion: Time to act

By Mildred T. Mushunje (PhD) Background Abortion is a public health and human rights issue which remains highly stigmatized regardless of efforts to liberalise it. Zimbabwe is one of the countries with high cases of unintended pregnancies among adolescent girls, which contributes to unsafe abortions (ZDHS, 2015) and these account for about 5% to maternal deaths (Ministry of Health, 2015). Contrary to populist belief, abortion is permitted under the colonial Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1977 which allows for abortion under the specific circumstances of rape, incest and to save…

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Abortion conversation must recognize women’s bodily autonomy and integrity

By Memory Pamella Kadau The previous installments touched on the legal regime regulating abortion in Zimbabwe having previously established that abortion doesn’t pose a moral dilemma. If anything, abortion services are part of the basic health needs for tens of thousands of women each year in Zimbabwe. That the law proscribes safe abortion by choice, limiting it to exceptional cases of medical emergencies, rape and incest is an act of injustice which undermines this right. This article will look at the dimension of how existing abortion regulation undermines the fundamental…

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As International Safe Abortion Day Draws Closer, Its Time To Reflect on progress towards access to safe abortion for women and girls

The 28th of September is International Safe Abortion Day, and it has two themes: “Diverse Actions, Different Places, One Demand: Access to Safe and Legal Abortion Now” and “Abortion in Uncertain Times.” By Edinah Masiyiwa These themes speak to me as an advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and they give me energy to continue working on safe abortion access. They communicate that firstly, we will achieve access to safe abortion through working in our different spaces from research, to advocacy, to awareness raising at community and policy…

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Abortion policy and the vicious cycle of poverty

By Memory Pamella Kadau The previous instalment submitted that abortion doesn’t bring about a moral dilemma as middle ground propagation would argue. It’s clear that safe abortion services should be made accessible to women and this demands policy and legal reforms. This article explored how existing policy framework on abortion perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty on women and fuels child sexual abuse termed ‘child marriages’. Abortion and poverty Poverty wears the face of a woman and the untold story is that hundreds of thousands of women are trapped in…

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