Abortion Laws in Zambia
Is abortion legal in Zambia?
Zambia has some of the most liberal abortion laws in Southern Africa. According to the 1972 Termination of Pregnancy (ToP) Act, an abortion in Zambia can be legally conducted under the following circumstances:
- Where the pregnancy constitutes a risk to the life of the pregnant woman including risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or risk of injury to the physical or mental health or any existing children of the pregnant woman.
- If there is substantial risk that the child would be born with physical or mental abnormalities.
- On socio-economic grounds – a pregnant woman’s social and economic environment will be taken into account as well as her age.
In addition, the Zambian Ministry of Health’s standards and guidelines for reducing unsafe abortion, morbidity and mortality in Zambia stipulate that termination of pregnancies is legal, provided it is conducted by trained and skilled medical providers within the confines of the law.
What are the different abortion services available in Zambia?
- Medical Abortion (MA)- Abortion pill (Misoprostol, Mifepristone, Medabon)
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)-
*Note: Medication abortion (MA) is permitted for gestational age 5–9 weeks (and up to 12 weeks under certain circumstances) and Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) for 5–12 weeks (and up to 15 weeks under certain circumstances).
Who can perform abortions in Zambia?
Any trained medical worker at a licensed government or private hospital can conduct a safe abortion.
Where can I go for abortion services in Zambia?
- The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka (Nationalist Road, Ridgeway):
- Ndola Teaching Hospital (Ndola, Copperbelt, Zambia)
- Kalingalinga Diva Center in Lusaka
- Bauleni Diva Centre in Lusaka
- Rachael Lumpa Memorial Reproductive Health Centre
Corner of Church Road and Dushambe Road, Luska
Tel: 0211 254728
- Bwembya Lukutati Memorial Reproductive Health Centre
29 Independence Avenue, Kitwe
Tel: 0212 225114
- Youth Open Point
51 Kanyata Road, Livingstone
Tel: 0213 323065
- Reproductive Health Clinics (Supported by IPAS)
Chilanga Clinic, Kafue
Chipata Clinic, Lusaka
Kawama Clinic, Kitwe
Ronald Ross Hospital, Mufulira, Zambia
- Pharmacies provide abortion pills with a written prescription from a doctor.
- Private clinics or large public hospitals} provide safe abortion services through Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
*Note: Safe abortion services are, theoretically, available at a wide range of Government health facilities in Zambia, from tertiary hospitals to District hospitals, although the actual number of sites providing safe abortion services is unknown.
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Zambia?
- The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) provides safe abortion and PAC services for free, following the payment of a registration fee. If a woman was referred to UTH she will only pay about 20 Kwacha. If a woman is seeking care directly at UTH, she will pay about 150 Kwacha.
*Note: It is cheaper to get referred to a hospital from a clinic.
- The average cost of a safe abortion is between 250-350 kwacha (includes health center fees, pregnancy test fee, transport, sanitary pads, accommodation etc.)
What are the legal and safe drugs available in Zambia?
- Mifepristone + Misoprostol (Medabon)
Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy in Zambia?
Abortion pills can be bought at the pharmacy but can only be issued with an accompanying prescription.
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Zambia?
- Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ):
Health services and resources
- Marie Stopes:
Health services and resources
Helpline: 5600 (Toll free with MTN & Airtel)
- IPAS Zambia: Health services and resources
Plot 1210, Addis Drive, Lusaka
Tel: 0 211 251521
- Centre for Reproductive Health and Education:
- Whatsapp Helpline – Ask private and confidential questions on any sexual and reproductive health and rights issues: 0955683600.
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- 1. Termination of Pregnancy Act, Laws of Zambia.
- 2. “Unsafe Abortion in Zambia.” Guttmacher Institute, https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/ib-unsafe-abortion-zambia.pdf
- 3. “Needs assessment on safe abortion advocacy for the Zambia Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians.” KIT Royal Tropical Institute, International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), https://www.figo.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Zambia%20Country%20Report%20Final.pdf
- 4. Tiziana Leone, Ernestina Coast, Divya Parmar, Bellington Vwalika, The individual level cost of pregnancy termination in Zambia: a comparison of safe and unsafe abortion, Health Policy and Planning,Volume 31, Issue 7, September 2016, Pages 825–833, https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czv138