BY Marko Phiri
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When her 15-year-old daughter fell pregnant last year, Irene Ndlovu secretly arranged for an abortion before the pregnancy became visible so that she could continue with her education.
Abortions are only allowed in Zimbabwe if a woman’s life is in danger, if there is a risk that the child will be “seriously handicapped” or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Those who break the law can be jailed for five years.
“It was the only sensible thing to do at the time,” Ndlovu, who declined to give her real name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Do I regret it now? I don’t know.”
Abortion is controversial in Zimbabwe, a largely Christian nation, where more than 70,000 women undergo unsafe terminations each year, risking death from hemorrhage, infection or shock, according to the healthcare provider Marie Stopes International.