|Post-abortion policy comes unstuck|
|Sunday, 05 August 2012 13:06|
Confusion surrounds a new policy that enables women who illegally terminate pregnancies to access medical attention without being reported to the police, following revelations that the law criminalising such abortions is yet to be amended.
Last week, Government announced the policy, saying post-abortion care would help reduce the country’s maternal mortality rate.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr Henry Madzorera said in an interview that the new measures do not seek to promote large-scale abortion.
Dr Madzorera said the initiative was part of Government efforts to reduce maternal complications.
Unsafe abortions are reported to cause 5,8 percent of maternal deaths in the country.
“There is no law that requires a person to acquire a police report before accessing treatment. The ministry’s mandate is to treat everyone regardless of their circumstances.
“People who exercise unsafe abortions suffer a number of complications, which include post-abortion sepsis, haemorrhage while some may end up with fertility problems for life. All we want is to save women from suffering such infirmities.”
Police sources last week maintained that abortion outside these defined parameters is illegal. The sources said police are yet to receive
information regarding the new policy.
hospitals will no longer be reported to the police is something yet to be communicated to us,” said a source.
Women’s Action Group executive director Mrs Edna Masiyiwa hailed the initiative as “a big step towards the emancipation of women”.
“As much, as we acknowledge that abortion was and is still a crime, it is not the duty of doctors to take the law into their own hands and report abortion patients to the police. Also, there is no way of knowing how the baby has been lost. The aim is to save people’s lives and that is all we advocate.”
“What message is Government sending? Abortion is a crime and those who willingly break the law should be brought to book and not try to hide behind medical institutions,” said the pastor.