A lot of well-informed people have made different plausible arguments on the issue of making abortion legal. I appreciate that the issue continues to attract attention from all walks of life. This means that the matter is important and worth discussing. Among other examples, I recently followed the debate which was aired on Zodiak Broadcasting Station and I must say it was very inspiring and fascinating.
It was inspiring because I learnt that despite the illegality of the practice, many women continue to have abortions, which in most cases lead to death. The panellists observed that poor women are more likely to have an unsafe abortion, since their well-to-do counterparts can afford to pay for the procedure. It is for this reason that most activists are lobbying government and other stakeholders to legalise abortion so that women can have equal access to safe ways of eliminating their pregnancies.
The pro-abortion proponents have further argued that if abortion is legalised, then government’s expenditure on handling complicated cases that result from unsafe abortion will be eased.
Interestingly, others have chosen to differ with the idea that legalising abortion will bring more good than evil. This is fascinating because it brings about two strong schools of thought—those that are for the practice and those that are against it. This is the situation in our society. Therefore, the issue is never a simple task to come by and probably it may take us time. This derives from the fact that both schools of thought are rooted in subjective viewpoints depending on who and what the originator of the argument is. For instance, a strong feminist would not be happy seeing women dying because of unsafe abortion. Therefore, the best solution is to allow women to do it safely. However, a staunch believer of religious laws will obviously have a contrary view.
Clearly, the two groups will never agree because they belong to different world views. Therefore, this social question remains open-ended and I think everyone is free to comment despite one’s gender.
In this article, I would like to reflect on some facts that are probably not given ample thought, such as the question: When does human life start?
My personal opinion is that life starts with fusion of male and female characteristics which is said to be fertilisation. In fact, it is just the continuation of life because what comes from the male and the female has life already. Otherwise, a non living form cannot become alive at a later stage in as far as human beings are concerned. Therefore, the result of fertilisation is life and any termination is, therefore, elimination of life.
The question that follows now is: “Which human law freely accepts elimination of life? I would, therefore, radically say that abortion is killing, regardless of how one justifies it. Added to this, I feel legalising abortion because we want to save women from death due to unsafe methods employed, then we are simply dealing with effects, thereby letting the causes to flourish.
I believe we should try to reflect on why some women go for unsafe abortions. If the problem is lack of resources to look after the unborn baby, then abortion, in my view, is not the right solution to the problem.
Suppose you allow a woman to get rid of the pregnancy because the man just impregnated her and disappeared, what message are we passing to this irresponsible man? Is he not going to continue fathering and refusing responsibility? For me, we must address the issues that force women into abortion and criminalise them where necessary.
In conclusion, my point is that we should find better ways of dealing with problems that force women to have abortions. If we are serious, let us campaign for bills that will reduce involvement of people in unfounded sexual relations that may result in the so-called unwanted pregnancies. n
—The author is citizen of Malawi and likes to comment on social issues