Breaking the Silence: Expanding Access to Safe Abortion in Zimbabwe

Breaking the Silence: Expanding Access to Safe Abortion in Zimbabwe is an ENGAGE multimedia presentation that describes the problem of unsafe abortion in Zimbabwe, its health and financial costs, challenges posed by the law, and steps that decisionmakers can take to remedy the situation.

Although Zimbabwe has achieved many public health successes in areas that were once deemed controversial and challenging, too many Zimbabwean women are still dying from one of the leading causes of maternal deaths: Unsafe abortion.

Breaking the Silence

In Zimbabwe, four out of 10 pregnancies are unintended or unplanned; and 25 percent of those unintended pregnancies end in abortion. In 2016 alone, more than 65,000 induced abortions occurred in Zimbabwe. Most of these abortions were clandestine and potentially unsafe, performed outside the formal health system.

Many women and girls are driven into the shadows because of Zimbabwe’s restrictive abortion laws and a lack of clarity about their provisions.

The multimedia presentation urges advocates and decisionmakers to break the silence, raise their voices, and make the changes needed to protect women’s lives and ensure the world sees Zimbabwe as a leader when it comes to health and policy.


Diverse Lives, Diverse Needs: Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health for Young People in Zimbabwe is a companion multimedia presentation that highlights the importance of supporting young people’s decisions regarding if, when, and how to have children so they can live full and healthy lives. Within Zimbabwe, young women ages 15-19 make up 22 percent of the population and are a diverse group with diverse life experiences and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs. The diverse identities of young people—married, unmarried, rural, urban, and other factors—can affect the degree to which they face barriers to care, which in turn can affect their experiences of unintended pregnancy or unsafe abortion. The multimedia presentation highlights key data to raise awareness of young people’s specific circumstances and emphasizes the importance of developing policies and programs to support young people’s health, recognizing how their intersecting identities affect their SRH choices and challenges.

SAFE Zimbabwe Adolescents


The following snapshots are short, stand-alone vignettes focusing on specific topics in the main multimedia presentation, Breaking the Silence: Expanding Access to Safe Abortion in Zimbabwe.

Snapshot 1: Key Messages

Snapshot 2: Legal Considerations

Snapshot 3: Costs

Snapshot 4: Maternal Mortality

Snapshot 5: Recommendations