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Published On: Mon, Jun 8th, 2015

Population Services Zimbabwe in illegal abortions?

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HARARE-Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) is apparently terminating pregnancies which is an infringement of Zimbabwean laws, theZimbabwenewslive can reveal.

There is documentary evidence that suggests that, in 2014 alone, PSZ secretly facilitated the termination of 3263 pregnancies.

PSZ board chairperson Martin Simbi unwittingly denied the allegations. “What we do is above board, whoever wrote to donors is not us. There is nothing anybody can prove and we do not do illegal abortions,” he said.

Since 2010 the number of abortions administered at PSZ centers has increased from 876 to 3263 as of September 2014. PSZ, an affiliate of Marie Stopes International, vowed to “expand its market share for safe abortions, and medical abortion outside of centre” in its 2011-15 strategic plan.

However, it has surfaced that illegal abortions are secretly being carried out at clinics in Belvedere, Mbare, Chitungwiza, Sakubva, Rimuka (Kadoma), Mkoba (Gweru), Gokwe and Mpopoma in Bulawayo.

Despite acknowledging that “abortion is restricted in Zimbabwe,” PSZ maintained that abortions would still be administered at their selected clinics. “Termination may take place only at designated hospitals and only in case of suspected birth defects, life and death situations or if the baby was conceived of rape or incest.” In this application for safe abortions PSZ highlighted that they were targeting 2,000 females to receive safe abortion. It appears that “the targeted beneficiaries are poor women and young girls who need safe abortion services but may not access these due to service unavailability and cost barriers.” An inside source revealed that PSZ use the Cytotecpill or Misoprostol and Mariprist pills to induce abortions for pregnancies between 0-9 weeks. PSZ is not registered to import these pills or to keep them in stock; they are illegally importing these consignments via expatriate staff coming to visit Zimbabwe from South Africa and Zambia. These medicines are not registered by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.

 

In its application for funding, PSZ argue that the facilitation of safe abortions is needed to reduce maternal deaths. Our source further claimed that the “PSZ Strategic Plan for 2011-2015 is aiming to conduct 15,000 abortions annually in Zimbabwe and the SAAF proposal, gibing a clear evidence that they even fundraise for these devious acts.

They hide under Post Abortal Care (PAC), which is allowed in Zimbabwe when asked by MOHCC or law enforcement agents, but as staff we do know and we are forced to provide abortion services.” To finance these abortion services, PSZ proposed a US$159,536 budget from the Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF).

In an attempt to shed some light on the abortion practices of PSZ, an H-Metro employee approached the Chitungwiza Unit F clinic seeking termination of a four week old pregnancy.  She claims that she was examined for the procedure, and she was scheduled to undergo pregnancy termination after paying $150. The procedure involved an injection with a substance that would induce labour in a matter of minutes. The post abortion care would come from the clinic as per the agreement. However, the covert H-Metro employee backed out of the procedure at the last minute, and as a result, was denied access to her medical documents.

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