Pressure group says young girls must be allowed to access abortion

By Staff Writer

The Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) has approached the High Court challenging the constitutional validity of some sections of the Termination of Pregnancy Act.

The women’s rights group said of concern was that the Act excludes pregnancies of minor girls conceived as a result of marital rape by older spouses.

According to WLSA, the application is particularly important in light of the many cases of teenage pregnancies, illegal teen abortions and teenage mortalities.

“More than that, the application, takes into account the fact that marital rape having been criminalised, victims of marital rape should also have access to legal abortion,” read part of the application filed by WLSA lawyer Tendai Biti.

“The applicants will seek to persuade the court that this application is a logical sequel to the protection of children that the court has offered and granted in the child marriage case.”

Illegal abortion carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine. Under Zimbabwe’s 1977 Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is only legally permitted under certain circumstances.
Abortion is legally permitted in the country only under limited circumstances, including if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or in cases of rape, incest or foetal impairment.

If conducted illegally, it carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and/or a fine.

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