Posts archive for September, 2018

SAfAIDS Statement: Commemorating International Safe Abortion Day

 

 

 

Commemorating International Safe Abortion Day

28th September 2018

 

“Addressing barriers to adolescent girls’ and women’s access to abortion in the region and globally is a matter of urgency. Restrictive legislative frameworks and criminalisation of abortion does not prevent abortion. It only renders it unsafe and threatening to health and lives. The high incidence of mortality due to unsafe abortions is unnecessary loss of life. This can easily be prevented when adolescent girls and women’s decisions and choices over their bodies are respected & EVERYONE commits to protect the rights, health, safety and well-being of millions of adolescent girls and women in SADC.

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Safe & Legal Abortion is an SRH Right: Save Adolescent Girls & Young Women Lives, Act Now!

 # Safe Abortion

 

� Unwanted pregnancies have a profound effect on the lives of women and girls; their ability and right to make choices about their lives. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), safe abortions are one of the safest and simplest medical procedures in existence. Yet, with abortion mostly illegal and highly frowned upon in most Southern African countries, unsafe abortion accounts for 10% to 13% of maternal mortality in the region.

� In the Southern African attitudes survey, nearly half (45% women and 44% men) said they agreed or strongly agreed that a woman had a right to terminate her pregnancy within the first trimester. Attitudes towards abortion are changing!

� 28 September is International Safe Abortion Day. The day was first celebrated as a day of action for decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1990. In 2011, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) declared 28 September as an international day. The day’s name was changed to International Safe Abortion Day in 2015. 2016 was the biggest International Safe Abortion Day ever celebrated.1

� From 5 to 9 November, SADC senior officials and Ministers of Health will meet in Windhoek, Namibia to adopt the revised SADC SRHR Strategy 2019-2030 and its related score card.

� This takes place against the backdrop of the global #Women’sMarch; #MeToo; #TimesUp and related regional campaigns such as the #IWearWhatILike and #TotalShutdown.

� The 2018 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer put a spotlight on the inter-linked gender justice issues of our time including menstrual health, comprehensive sexual education, teenage pregnancies, safe abortion, maternal health, GBV, HIV and Aids, and sexual diversity.

� SAfAIDS, cluster lead of the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance, is leading the campaign for preventing unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. This is part of the SAfAIDS Transforming Lives – Time for Change, Time for Action campaign supported by Sweden. SAfAIDS calls for policy changes to enable women to make choices about their bodies.

 

1     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Safe_Abortion_Day

 

 

Country

 

Law

 

Abortion on demand (yes/no)

Conditions under which an abortion may be granted

 

Childs life

 

Time frame

 

Consent

 

Post abortion care

Rape/incest

Mothers life

Mothers Mental state

ABORTION AVAILABLE ON DEMAND

South Africa

Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act No. 1 of 20082

Yes – specifies available to any woman who wants to terminate out of choice, including counselling.

 

 

 

 

Within the first trimester.

Right to terminate without consent of other parties apart from medical practitioners.

Yes

Mozambique

Amended Penal Code

Yes

 

 

 

 

On demand up to 12 weeks;

incest, up to 16 weeks; foetal anomalies, up to 24 weeks.

A certified practitioner must

perform the termination at designated facilities.3

Yes

 

 

MAPPING OF ABORTION LAWS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zimbabwe

 

Termination of Pregnancy Act of

 

If conception is deemed

 

Only under circumstances where the life of the

 

Where the child will suffer from

 

A magistrate must grant

 

Yes – In 2012, policy approved for women

 

 

 

 

Zambia

 

1977, Chapter 15: 104

 

 

Termination of Pregnancy Act, 13  No October 1972

 

unlawful (instances of rape). mother is in danger.

 

✓ If the pregnancy will cause death.

 

 

 

✓ Mental or physical damage to the woman.

 

complications after birth.

 

✓Child at risk of mental and physical deformities.

 

permission.

 

 

Once three medical practitioners have agreed.

 

who undergo illegal abortions to receive medical post-abortion care without being referred to the police.

No

 

 

 

 

Botswana

 

Penal Code (Amendment) Act,   No

 

✓Rape or incest.

 

✓ If the mother’s life is at risk or may cause harm ✓Where a woman has been deemed

 

✓ If the unborn child will suffer  Termination has to be                                                            No

 

1991 – Section 160

 

to her mentally.

 

to be an idiot or an imbecile as per

 

or later develop physical or  performed before 16

 

 

 

Lesotho

 

 

 

Mauritius

 

 

The Penal Code (2010)6                     No

 

 

 

Criminal Code Amendment Act 20127

 

✓ If pregnant due to incest or rape.

 

✓To save the life of a pregnant woman.

 

 

✓ To save the life of a pregnant woman; or from permanent physical damage.

 

the Immorality Act of 1957, which makes sex with her illegal.

 

mental abnormality.

✓ To prevent the birth of a child who will be seriously physically or mentally handicapped.

✓ If the foetus may suffer

severe malformation or abnormalities.

 

weeks.5

 

 

 

 

 

The pregnancy is within 14 weeks and the girl is younger than the age of 16.

 

 

Performed by a registered         No medical professional, with the written opinion of another registered medical professional.

No

 

 

 

Namibia

 

Abortion and Sterilization Act 2 of  No

 

Where two other medical

 

✓The pregnancy poses a threat to the physical  ✓Where a woman has been deemed

 

✓ The unborn child is at risk of

 

Two medical practitioners must  No

 

1975

 

practitioners confirm that the woman has been raped or is a victim of incest.

 

and mental health of the pregnant.

 

to be an idiot or an imbecile as per the Immorality Act of 1957, which makes sex with her illegal.8

 

a serious mental or physical deformity and handicap.

 

approve in writing that the pregnancy is a risk.

 

ABORTION ONLY AVAILABLE IN LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES

 

Seychelles

 

 

 

Tanzania

 

Termination of Pregnancy Act,     No

2012

 

 

Penal Code10

 

When a woman’s life is deemed to be in danger

or if the cost of carrying the foetus is greater than the pregnant woman’s physical and mental health.

 

Woman is at risk of death, pregnancy threatens

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy threatens the mental and

 

Termination can be carried out

if the child is at risk of serious mental and physical deformities.9

 

If three medical practitioners      No

agree in good faith, termination can be undertaken at Victoria Hospital, Mahe.

No

 

the mental and physical wellbeing of the woman.  physical wellbeing of the pregnant

woman.

 

 

eSwatini

 

The Constitution

 

Only possible where the life of the pregnant                                                                                                                                                                                                                     No

woman is in danger.11

 

 

 

 

Malawi

 

 

 

 

 

Angola

 

Penal Code and The Law            No Commission of Malawi has drafted

the Termination of Pregnancy Bill to legalise safe abortion for women in the event of incest, rape or severe foetal abnormalities.12 Penal Code 201413

 

Currently, Malawi only allows abortion to save a woman’s life.

 

 

 

 

Termination only permissible to save the life of a

 

No

 

 

 

 

2        http://www.parliament.gov.za/live/commonrepository/Processed/20140414/67169_1.pdf

3       https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/5009/abortion-law-mozambique

No

 

4       http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/population/abortion/Zimbabwe.abo.html

5       http://www.gov.bw/en/Citizens/Sub-Audiences/Women/Unsafe-Abortions/

 

woman.

 

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/population/abortion/BOTSWANA.abo.htm      http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=238601

6      https://lesotholii.org/ls/legislation/num-act/6

 

 

 

DRC

 

 

The Constitution

 

 

Abortion is illegal except in cases where a woman’s life is in danger.14

 

7           https://srhr.org/abortion-policies/documents/countries/02-Mauritius-Criminal-Code-Amendment-Act-2012.pdf

8       https://laws.parliament.na/cms_documents/abortion-and-sterilization-c5c7b99b28.pdf

9        https://srhr.org/abortion-policies/documents/countries/01-Seychelles-Termination-of-Pregnancy-Act-2012.pdf

10   https://www.globalfinancingfacility.org/sites/gff_new/files/Tanzania_One_Plan_II.pdf                                                                           No

11     http://srhr.org/abortion-policies/country/swaziland/

12       http://www.satregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Age-of-consent-Malawi.pdf

13       http://srhr.org/abortion-policies/documents/countries/01-Angola-Penal-Code-2014.pdf

14   https://www.google.co.za/#safe=off&q=abortion+bill+1991+democratic+republic+of+Congo (UN Publication)

 

 

ABORTION ILLEGAL UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

 

Madagascar

 

Reproductive Health and Family

 

Abortion under any

 

In Criminal Procedure law, an abortion can be                                                                                                                                                                                                                               No

 

Planning Law 2017

 

circumstance remains illegal. performed to save the life of a woman.

 

The mapping of laws shows that

� All SADC countries provide for abortion in some circumstances, but this ranges from South Africa and Mozambique, where abortion is available on demand, to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius and Namibia, where abortion is only available in certain circumstances; to Seychelles, Tanzania, eSwatini, Malawi, Angola and DRC where abortion is only available in extremely limited circumstances, to Madagascar, where abortion is almost totally outlawed.

� In South Africa, despite strong pro-abortion laws, access to the service remains a challenge, with only 7% of the country’s health facilities providing abortions.15 Research shows that many health workers refuse to perform the procedure, with government unable to do anything about it. Information about where and how to acquire the service remains limited.16

�In Lesotho, government acknowledges the devastating effects of illegal backyard abortions on girls and women but still will not relent to make abortion legal in the country. Instead, it surreptitiously advises women to go across the border into South Africa where abortion is legal. The irony is not lost on human rights lawyer Lineo Tsikoane, who has said of the Ministry of Health: “They know abortion is illegal, but they’re telling us to advise girls to go elsewhere, and [yet] won’t change our own law.”

�The most common circumstances in which abortion is provided for are incest and rape; related to that, threat to the mother’s mental well-being. Evidence of possible child deformities may also be grounds for abortion.

� While allowing for abortion in limited circumstances, Zimbabwe passed

a law in 2012 that allows for post-abortion care. A much more cost

 

HASHTAGS

#MyBodyMyChoice

#She Decides

#SheDecidesSADC

#RightbyHer

#SafeAbortion

#ReproductiveJustice

#AbortionIsLegalinSA

#NormaliseAbortion

#SafeAbortionsSavesLives

#OurBodiesOurFight

#Sept28

 

effective option would be to provide for safe abortion.

� It is clear that many of the laws governing abortion in SADC are inherited from the colonial era and are out of sync with modern rights-based laws. For example the Abortion and Sterilization Act 2 of 1975 in Namibia dates back to 1975. One of the few grounds for abortion is where “a woman has been deemed to be an idiot or an imbecile as per the Immorality Act of 1957, which makes sex with her illegal.”

� On 24 February 2018, Angola‘s parliament approved an amendment to the abortion law, making all abortions, without exception, illegal and punishable by between four to ten years’ imprisonment. This is part of the process of replacing Angola’s 1886 penal code. Parliamentary debate on the amendment stalled following a public outcry over it, leading to the ruling party proposing a revised version of the legal amendment. The revised version retained the legality of abortion in cases of rape or maternal health risk.17

� In December 2017, Madagascar passed the Reproductive Health and

 

Family Planning Law after many years of advocacy to revoke colonial policy that prohibited promotion of contraception. The law recognises reproductive health and family planning as basic human rights for all, irrespective of age. It defines “counselling and family planning services for sexually active teens, married or unmarried” as one of the necessary reproductive health services. The law also provides for family planning education and outreach, community-based distribution of services, improved family planning technical capacity in health facilities, and availability of commodities, including emergency contraception.”18 But parliament rejected efforts by the Ministry of Public Health to make amendments to the family planning law to allow for therapeutic abortion. As a result, abortion remains illegal in Madagascar under all circumstances, with virtually no exception.

 

Increasingly, women have turned to social media, in particular Facebook, to look for illegal abortion services. This can lead to serious complications and death if they receive the service from unqualified people and in unhygienic conditions (CNN 2018).

 

SIGN THE PETITION FOR SAFE ABORTION IN SADC

https://genderlinks.org.za/what-we-do/sadc-gender-protocol/advocacy/safe-abortion-campaign/

 

 

 

SADC GENDER PROTOCOL ALLIANCE

 

15  Skosana, I (2017), ‘Less than 7% of health facilities nationwide offer abortions – Amnesty International’, available at: http://bhekisisa.org/article/2017- 02-14-00-only-260-health-facilities-nationwide-offer-abortions-amnesty-international/ (accessed 11 June 2018)

16  Amnesty International (2018), Amnesty International Report 2017/2018, Amnesty International, London

17  The Citizen (2017), ‘Angola Backs Down on Total Abortion Ban’ available at https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/1542075/angola-backs-total- abortion-ban/ (accessed 1 April 2018)

18  https://medium.com/@FP2020Global_20685/madagascar-enacts-historic-family-planning-law-8ac7ab62e0ad. Accessed 20 June 2018

Read more

Safe & Legal Abortion is an SRH Right: Save Adolescent Girls & Young Women Lives, Act Now!

_x0003_ Unwanted pregnancies have a profound effect on the lives of women and girls; their abilityand right to make choices about their lives. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), safe abortions are one of the safest and simplest medical procedures in existence.Yet, with abortion mostly illegal and highly frowned upon in most Southern African countries, unsafe abortion accounts for 10% to 13% of maternal mortality in the region. In the Southern African attitudes survey, nearly half (45% women and 44% men) said theyagreed or strongly agreed that a woman had a right to terminate her pregnancy within the first trimester. Attitudes towards abortion are changing!

28 September is International Safe Abortion Day. The day was first celebrated as a day of action for decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1990. In 2011, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) declared 28 September as an international day. The day’s name was changed to International Safe Abortion Day in 2015. 2016 was the biggest International Safe Abortion Day ever celebrated.1 From 5 to 9 November, SADC senior officials and Ministers of Health will meet in Windhoek, Namibia to adopt the revised SADC SRHR Strategy 2019-2030 and its related score card. This takes place against the backdrop of the global #Women’sMarch; #MeToo; #TimesUp and related regional campaigns such as the #IWearWhatILike and #TotalShutdown.
_x0003_

The 2018 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer put a spotlight on the inter-linked gender justice issues of our time including menstrual health, comprehensive sexual education, teenage pregnancies, safe abortion, maternal health, GBV, HIV and Aids, and sexual diversity.

_x0003_SAfAIDS, cluster lead of the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance, is leading the campaign for preventing unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. This is part of the
SAfAIDS Transforming Lives – Time for Change, Time for Action campaign supported by Sweden.

Download Full International Day on Safe Abortion Media brief here : https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tvOzaEQCvLenAR-8UPg-QvGM_Dzr7Y5m

 

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