Abortion:MPs grill PSZ boss

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Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, on Monday, questioned the concept of post-abortion care being provided by Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ), saying people perceived it as encouraging illegal abortions.


GlenView North MP Fani Munengami asked PSZ acting country director, Pester Siraha, at a family planning workshop for MPs in Nyanga, to explain if her organisation was offering abortion services as perceived by some people.

Siraha denied that PSZ was offering abortion services. She said they followed the laws of the country and were guided by Health ministry regulations and those of the National Planning Council of Zimbabwe.

“As PSZ, we do not work against the law (the Termination of Pregnancy Act),” she said.

“Where someone has been raped or there is gross malformation of the baby, or the pregnancy is aborted for medical reasons, we administer post-abortion care to ensure the woman does not die.

Abortion Ruth Labode speaks to a woman accessing family planning services at a Population Services Zimbabwe mobile tent at Chatindo in Nyanga

“This saves women’s lives and we cannot do abortions at our surgeries because there is a legal procedure that is supposed to be followed before an abortion is performed,” she said.

Binga MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda said it gave the impression that abortion was legal in Zimbabwe.

Another member of the committee who is also a medical doctor, Paul Chimedza, said it was imperative to clarify post-abortion care to ensure women did not perform illegal abortions knowing that they can access care at PSZ clinics.

Chairperson of the committee, Ruth Labode, said most health facilities were, these days, not reporting women who have aborted to the police compared to the past when they were criminalised.

“This has helped prevent maternal mortality because in the past women would bleed to death due to lack of post natal care for fear of being arrested,” Labode said.

Labode said she would advocate for amendment of laws to ensure children under the age of 16 had access to sexual reproductive health information as they made the largest number of people who had unwanted pregnancies and ended up aborting.

“It is a fact that some children are already sexually active and it is important for those to get information on sexual reproductive health, so that they do not have unwanted pregnancies and end up performing illegal abortions,” Labode said.Newsday