Government wishes to dismiss categorically claims that there is an Abortion Bill ready for debate in the National Assembly. The truth of the matter is that the Law Commission has developed a Report and made recommendations to Government to adopt a new law on abortion.
Currently, the law on abortion is governed by the Penal Code. Sections 149, 150, 151 and 243 of the Penal Code prohibit termination of pregnancy except where the life of the mother is threatened. This is the status of the law.
However, the Penal Code underwent review and the Law Commission came up with its Report in 2000. In that Report, the Commission recommended to Government to empanel another special Law Commission to review comprehensively the sections dealing with termination of pregnancy after clearly acknowledging the need to do so.
The Report, which is the subject of the present controversy, is the result of the work of this other Commission which focused on issues of unsafe termination of pregnancy. This Report is yet to be submitted to Cabinet through the Minister of Justice for Cabinet’s consideration.
This has not been done at this stage. It is important to emphasize that Reports of the Law Commission are merely recommendations to Government. It is the prerogative of Cabinet to adopt or reject any recommendations originating from the Law Commission.
Therefore, any information that there is a Bill ready for debate in the National Assembly is misleading.
Government hopes the above clarifies matters.
Rev. Malison Ndau, MP,
GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON AND
MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND