Katswe pushes for legalisation of abortion

By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa

Feminist movement, Katswe Sistahood has launched a campaign pushing for the legalisation of abortion in Zimbabwe.

The campaign will see Katswe Sistahood imploring government to reform the Pregnancy Termination Act of 1977.

In their effort to lobby government for legal abortion, the feminist movement also criticised the law citing that it is unfriendly even to those who are lawfully eligible to terminate preganancies.

“The problem of the law is the Women in Zimbabwe trying to access safe abortion services face a restrictive legal environment,” reads part of Katswe’s campaign posters.

 “The termination of Pregnancy Act Top (TOP) [Chapter 15:10] is overwhelmed with bureaucratic and cumbersome procedures that are difficult for women who are eligible to termination under the act to access the services.

“The procedures for obtaining a termination must be victim friendly, easy to follow and capable of being implemented swiftly,” added Katswe.

In an interview with Bustop TV, Katswe’s programmes manager Debra Maswe said the organisation is advocating for the amendment of the 1977 pregnancy act.

“We are currently advocating for the reform of the Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1977,” she said.

In addition, Maswe said the organisation is requesting government to treat abortion as a health and developmental issue through the following reforms.

“1. Expanding of the grounds for termination i.e broadening the definition of unlawful sexual intercourse to include statutory rape.

2. Remove procedural and administrative barriers.

3. Broaden the scope of where and who can perform a termination.”

According to Katswe, women have opted to go through unsafe backyards abortions because they fail to access safe abortion methods.

The non-governmental organisation also said an estimated 65,300 induced abortions took place in Zimbabwe in 2016.

While on their (Katswe) official website they revealed that Zimbabwe records about 70,000 backyards abortions a year.