Zimbabwe: Strengthening Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Services

Salc : Staff Writer

SALC provided support to the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) in the case of Mildred Mapingure v The State.

Mapingure was raped in 2006. She sought emergency contraception within 72 hours of her rape to ensure that the rape did not result in a pregnancy. Despite emergency contraceptives being legal in Zimbabwe, Mapingure failed to access emergency contraception on time due to delays at the police station and their failure to provide proper information about how to access it.

Upon discovering she was pregnant, she sought a lawful termination; as a victim of rape she is eligible for an abortion under Zimbabwe’s Termination of Pregnancy Act. Due to unnecessary judicial delays, she was unable to obtain the court order allowing the termination in time and eventually gave birth. She sued the government in 2007, seeking damages for herself as well as maintenance for her baby from the state.

The government failed to respond to her lawsuit. Nonetheless, in December 2012, the High Court handed down judgment in favour of the state. The Supreme Court handed down judgment in the appeal on 25 March 2014.

High Court Judgment
Supreme Court Judgment