Married with three children, 25-year-old Selina was desperate when she realized she was pregnant again. There was no way she could support another child, and she knew that getting an abortion would subject her to shame and stigma within her community. She felt her only choice was to induce a miscarriage. So she drank battery acid and forced a sharp object into her vagina. Instead of the quick recovery she had hoped for, Selina had to be hospitalized for operations to repair her stomach and remove her uterus.
Although abortion is legal in Zambia, the barriers to accessing safe abortion care are formidable. Millions live on less than $1 a day, doctors are in short supply, and there is a strong and persistent social stigma surrounding abortion.
Ipas has worked in Zambia since 2006 to expand access to safe and comprehensive abortion services, providing training and equipment at more than 40 health-care facilities, conducting trainings with pharmacists and mobilizing youth and community partners to raise awareness about reproductive health and rights.
On July 1, 2011, Ipas established a full country program in Zambia. Working with the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders, Ipas Zambia continues to focus on the broad goal of reducing abortion-related deaths and injuries.