As debate on the proposed Termination of Pregnancy Bill continues, Religious Network for Choice (RNC), a group that promotes freedoms and human rights, has come out to openly support the Bill.
Speaking in Blantyre yesterday at a press briefing organised by Centre for Solutions Journalism (CSJ), the network’s general secretary the Reverend Cliff Nyekanyeka challenged government to exercise its obligation of protecting lives of women and girls.
He said: “It is even surprising that the religious leaders and mother bodies who are against the enactment of the Bill now participated in the extensive consultations on the Bill and endorsed the recommendations of the Special Law Commission on Review of Abortion Law.”
He has since called on members of Parliament to pass the Bill when it is tabled in the august House.
On her part, Coalition to the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion board member Winnie Botha urged those opposing the proposed Bill to read and understand it so that they disseminate correct information to the masses.
She said: “Whether they support it or not, abortions are happening. Less privileged women and girls are forced to procure unsafe abortions because they cannot receive the assistance they need in public hospitals. Many lives are being lost in the process.”
Weighing in on the matter, CSJ programme manager Penelope Paliani-Kamanga said statistics have shown that at least seven women are treated daily at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital for complications of unsafe abortion.
Despite restrictive abortion laws, over 141 000 women induce abortion every year in Malawi, according to findings of a Strategic Assessment of Unsafe Abortion in Malawi (2009).
Other RNC members at the briefing included Rev. Fr. Martin Kalimbe, Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef Mahommed and Bishop Amos Tchuma.