Abortion Laws in Zimbabwe
Abortion has been legal in Zimbabwe, under certain circumstances, since 1979. Abortion pills can be purchased from pharmacies, with a prescription, and surgical abortions are also available. The abortion pill generally costs between $20 and $60.
Is abortion legal in Zimbabwe?
Requested abortions are illegal in Zimbabwe; the service is only available for women under specific circumstances.
In the case of rape or incest, abortion is legal, but two medical practitioners are required to attest and confirm that the abortion is necessary. It is important to note that statutory rape, in the context of Zimbabwe, does not warrant a legal abortion.
Outside of this, abortions are legal when the fetus is thought to have a mental or physical impairment, or if carrying the child to term will jeopardise the mental or physical health of the mother.
Legal abortion in Zimbabwe is only allowed in the following circumstances:
- If the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health is in danger
- In cases of rape or incest (statutory rape does not fall under this)
- In cases where the foetus has a physical or mental impairment
Any woman who procures an abortion for reasons not listed above can face up to five years in prison and/or be liable to a fine not exceeding level 10.
What are the different post-abortion care services available in Zimbabwe?
There are two types of post-abortion care services available:
- Medical Abortion (MA), using abortion pills, such as Misoprostol or Mifepristone; and
- Surgical Abortion, including Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA), Dilation & Curettage (D&C), and Electric Vacuum Aspiration (EVA).
Who can provide post-abortion care in Zimbabwe?
A legal abortion may only be performed by a medical practitioner in an institution designated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with the written permission of the hospital superintendent or administrator.
In order for the abortion procedure to be performed, two medical practitioners, who are not from the same medical partnership or institution, must certify that the requisite preconditions for an abortion have been met.
In the case of unlawful intercourse (rape, incest, or intercourse with a mentally handicapped woman), a court magistrate of the jurisdiction in which the abortion would take place must issue a certificate certifying that the pregnancy is the result of unlawful intercourse.
Where can I go for legal post-abortion care services in Zimbabwe?
Legal abortion services are available at both public and private health institutions as designated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Zimbabwe?
Abortion pills can cost anywhere between USD 20–USD 60, per pill, and can be bought in pharmacies with a prescription. Surgical abortion procedures vary in price depending on the institution providing the service; however, the service is free for low-income and/or unemployed women.
Which legal and safe abortion pills are available in Zimbabwe?
There are two abortion pills in Zimbabwe:
Misoprostol (Cytotec), and
Where can I buy abortion pills in Zimbabwe?
Abortion pills can be bought at the pharmacy but only with a prescription.
Who can I contact for additional information in Zimbabwe?
This organization may be able to provide safe abortion information and support in Zimbabwe:
- Marie Stopes Zimbabwe (Population Services Zimbabwe)
Phone numbers: +263 772 145223/24 or +263 0808 00 19/20 or 08010020/08080020
E-mail: Info@psz.co.zw or firstname.lastname@example.org
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- 1. “Abortion in Zimbabwe: A national study of the incidence of induced abortion, unintended pregnancy and post-abortion care in 2016.” PLOS One, National Center for Biotechnology Information, vol.13, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200425/ Accessed September 2020.
- 2. “Women’s Reproductive Rights in Zimbabwe: A Shadow Report.” Center for Reproductive Rights, 1997, https://www.reproductiverights.org/sites/default/files/documents/SRZimbabwe97en.pdf. Accessed September 2020.
- 3. “Medical Abortion Commodities Database.” IPPF, www.medab.org/. Accessed September 2020.