By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, September 4, Mana: Parliamentary Committee of Health has assured Malawian that the new proposed abortion laws is not meant to legalize abortion in the country
Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Health, Dr Mathews Ngwale said this Thursday during Parliamentary Engagement with Non Government Organizations (NGO) championing the pass of the new abortion law in the country at Bingu International Convention (BICC) in Lilongwe
He said every Malawi should know that according to the country’s laws abortion remain illegal.
Ngwale added that the new proposed law seeks an extension to the already existing law which stipulates that pregnancy could be terminated when the life of the mother is in danger.
He said the additional clause is just an extension to the already existing one where they want pregnancy termination to be conduct when one gets it through rape, incest and defilement.
The Chairperson said it was pleasing to note that religious leaders have appreciated the crafting of the new law saying there was need to have full support of the implementation of the law.
“Malawian women and girls are dying due to pregnancies. We have a maternal mortality rate of 439/100,000 live births. We need to guard against this occurrence In our country,” Ngwale pointed out.
Chairperson for Collation for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA), Emma Kaliya said it was necessary to engage parliamentarians to appreciate the new go pass the new abortion law.
She said the first cohort of parliamentarians were engaged in 2017 but there was not progress made since most of them felt it was very sensitive issue to handle as it was going towards an election.
Kaliya added that since parliament has new cohorts of members of parliament they felt the need to date the new abortion law so that they should appreciate, support and pass it in parliament to become a law.
“What we want from them, is to have a clear understanding on the importance of having safe abortion in hospital unlike what is happening now where a lot of women their resort to seek abortion services from traditional healers,” she stated.
Kaliya pointed out that the country would benefit if all women are encouraged to access health facility due to pregnancy completion in order to reduce maternal deaths among them.
She added community awareness on the new abortion law would be very crucial for them to understand the new concept where we are not encouraging open abortion among Malawian women and girls.
Senior Chief Kayembe of Dowa said the new law should be implemented in order to prevent more deaths among women and girls in the rural areas due to limited facilities for safe abortion.
She said once women would be allowed to access safe abortion in health facilities more lives would be saved.
The Parliamentary engagement was organized and financed by following NGOs, Centre for Solution Journalism, Banja La Mtsogolo Nyika Institute, Options and Family Planning Association of Malawi.