3 Questions

Women’s Promotion Centre

In support of women’s right to safe abortion, September 28th 2016 is marked as the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. We talked to Women’s Promotion Centre (WPC) about it. WPC is one of Simavi’s local partners in Tanzania working on women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.

1

Why do you think access to safe and legal abortion is so important?

“Access to safe and legal abortion is an important way for women to be able to exercise their reproductive and human rights. It is a way for women to make responsible decisions about their bodies and their lives. It is an expression of individual freedom and respect for the woman’s dignity. And above all, it shows that a society respects and protects the health and life of women, first and foremost .

Unsafe abortion is the second key contributor to maternal mortality in Tanzania. And for that reason, access to safe and legal abortion will definitely result in a reduction of the maternal mortality rate, which is still around 410/100,000 live births.”

2

How is the situation in Tanzania regarding safe abortion? Can you explain why?

“Safe abortion in Tanzania is only legally authorised by the penal code (cap 16 R, E 2002) of the Tanzania Law to save a woman’s life. But it remains unclear on the legality of cases to preserve the woman’s physical or mental health. Accessing safe abortion services (under the limits of the law) is still a challenge due the contradiction and ambiguity of the law, abortion related stigma and gender stereotypes that reduce the dignity of women to a tool for reproduction.”

3

What is your organisation able to do about this situation with support from Simavi?

“WPC is able to mobilise communities to create awareness and campaign for the importance of safe and legal abortion, increase understanding at community level on the legality of abortion, challenge myths, stigma and stereotypes associated with abortion, and network and linkup with various stakeholders at national level for positive policy or law change. We have been able to make the abortion issue a topic for debate, bringing it into community and public or policy discourse so that it becomes a national health concern and priority.”

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