Zimbabwe allows abortion under very limited circumstances. The Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1977 permits it when “the life of the woman is endangered, the child may suffer a permanent physical or mental defect, or the fetus was conceived as a result of rape or incest”.
However there have been scores of thousands of illegal abortions some of which have resulted in death. Everyone either knows someone or has heard of a person who has had an abortion in Zimbabwe. If you know the right guy, he knows the right doctor and he can make the whole thing go away.
Of course from a Christian point of view – which is the de facto view in Zimbabwe – this is not even up for debate. People shouldn’t be having sex before marriage in the first place and in the event of them getting pregnant they should accept it as a gift from the man above. It is a consequence of their actions and they should live with it.
From a human standpoint however, the reality is that people are having ‘illicit sex’ and that is something we cannot run away from. There are some who are having it with very little knowledge and it may be easy for society to simply punish them for their lack of curiosity. You hear all sorts of theories about how one can have unprotected sex and not get pregnant. That is of course without even talking about the HIV implications.
It is true that many options to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Having said that, we also have to understand that sometimes, things do not happen the way we want them to. That said, something needs to be put in place to protect members of society who may not always make the best choices.
There are instances we have heard of people who have had up to three abortions. Those are not the people we are talking about. Think of the young girl – let’s call her Chido – who goes to marasta or Lime Bar and meets one of the ballers. Being skilled as they are at convincing girls to do things they did not plan to do, they get this girl to have sex with them by whatever means of persuasion. Chido is a deer in the lights, because she thinks she is only one. She also develops a dependency syndrome on her new man and he forbids her from going out without him. She doesn’t see all the other business he gets up to. In some instances she only finds out late in the game that he is married. Meanwhile, with a little more persuasion it has graduated to unprotected sex. Chido subsequently gets pregnant. Of course the law does not classify what happened to her as rape in this country. He doesn’t want anything to do with the pregnancy and so he calls one of his ‘doctor’ friends to take care of it. Chido has no income and her parents will disown her if she keeps the baby.
So Chido accepts the situation she is in. She has the abortion and during the whole process there is a complication.