Because pregnancies can only be terminated legally in extreme instances such as rape, many women find other ways. And many do not survive the process.
By: Cebelihle Mbuyisa
27 Oct 2020
On 22 May 2000, Elizabeth Matimba and Joyce Mdluli sat on benches in the High Court of Swaziland (eSwatini) in Mbabane and heard Judge Thomas Masuku denounce them for the crime of abortion. Matimba had, in 1998, taken her pregnant daughter to Mdluli, then a nurse at Mbabane Government Hospital, and asked that she terminate the pregnancy. Mdluli obliged. For this crime, the women were both sentenced to five years in jail.
The case later went to the appeal court, where Judge Jules Browde spoke out strongly against abortion. He nevertheless reduced Matimba’s sentence to three years. The nurse’s conviction and sentence were set aside on the grounds that the crown had failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.