Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) and faith groups in the country have protested the proposed Termination of Pregnancy Bill, saying the country should promote good morals and protect lives of unborn babies.
Parliament is expected to debate the Bill, which seeks to increase the grounds for permissible abortion, at a date to be decided by the parliamentary Business Committee.
Section 243 of the Penal Code permits abortion only if it endangers a woman’s life, but the Bill has proposed that the grounds for termination be broadened to pregnancies resulting from rape, defilement, incest and in situations where a foetus is deformed that it is not compatible with a human being.
In an interview yesterday, Mhen executive director George Jobe said there is no justification to end lives of unborn babies.
He said: “The unborn babies or foetuses cannot speak for themselves. There should be ways to avoid the pregnancies.”
Jobe called for proper measures of preventing pregnancies, adding that if someone has been raped there should be a remedy to prevent fertilisation.
Weighing in on the matter, CCAP General Assembly moderator the Reverend Bizwick Nkhoma said the stand of the synods is that abortion should not be legalised, adding whether abortion is safe or unsafe, no one has the right to take someone else’s life.
He said: “Our stand is biblically based and we are saying no to abortion. Whether safe or unsafe abortions, the mandate to terminate lives does not lie in our hands but in the hands of God.”
On his part, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi publicity secretary Sheikh Jaafar Kawinga also trashed the Bill, urging members of Parliament to reject the bill.
Episcopal Conference of Malawi chairperson Archbishop Thomas Msusa also spoke against abortion, saying the country should not promote killing.
He said the bishops were never consulted on the matter.
Meanwhile, Coalition for Prevention of Unsafe Abortion vice-chairperson Amos Nyaka said the proposed law is only seeking to add more grounds on which abortion can be conducted.
In an earlier interview, Parliamentary Committee on Health chairperson Matthews Ngwale also said they were not introducing a new law, but providing additional exceptions for abortion.
A 2008 Ministry of Health Magnitude Study shows that over 100 000 women and girls undergo abortion every year and 33 000 of these develop serious complications whose treatment costs the country around K300 million annually.