Abortion is legal in mainland Tanzania when done to preserve the life or mental or physical health of the pregnant women, as well as in cases of sexual violence. However, unclear and often confusing abortion laws and policies mean that many people are not aware that abortions can be legally obtained in these circumstances. As a result, many women to turn to unsafe, clandestine abortion with devastating consequences. Thirty percent of maternal deaths in Tanzania are attributed to unsafe abortion.
Based on the Center for Reproductive Rights’ research on the issue, it is evident that mainland Tanzania’s laws and policies are more expansive than most believe and the current legal and policy framework offers ample opportunities for increasing access to safe abortion services.