A 20 year old Chancellor College student, Norah Mwase has been picked as a Miss Copua (Coalition For Prevention of Unsafe Abortion) through a tough selection criteria which was aimed at identifying a dedicated and beautiful pageant who could be the face of the campaign against unsafe abortion.
The student said she will dedicate some of her time in holding awareness meetings on the need the need of safe abortion.
“I know there is a tough task ahead of me but I will make sure that I work for the benefit of women and girls out there who are practice unsafe abortion because of the restrictive laws that we are having in Malawi,” said Mwase.
Born on January 11, 1996, Norah Vanessa Mwase is currently a student at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, majoring in Economics.
The 20 year old has been recently crowned as an ambassador for COPUA and the face of women’s Reproductive Health Rights.
Her passion for change was the sole reason why she was motivated to contest for the post just to see herself impacting in the lives of the youth particularly girls.
“There are evidently high mortality levels among girls due to unsafe abortion methods and this is an issue that requires the youth’s involvement,” she said.
“ Ignorance should not be an excuse as to why most girls should lose their lives during abortion because as the youth we have the role to raise awareness and campaign for the legalization of abortion in Malawi. We cannot pretend forever that abortion does not exist. It does.
“ And it is high time we asked ourselves if the price we pay for unsafe abortion is too high comparing to the cultural values that instill the stigmatization on abortion. And the answer is obviously YES” said Mwase.
Mwase said her involvement in the campaign to legalize abortion will help present the views of the youths that are mostly concerned about the issue and better be able to interact with them in attempt to bring awareness on the better and safe abortion methods that are available in Malawi.
She said campaign is in no way perpetuating the act of abortion because either way, with or without the law, abortion still exists.
The law will only help provide safe conditions in which abortion can occur coz at the end of the day it is still the girls choice to keep the pregnancy or terminate it.
Meanwhile, COPUA and Members of Parliament met in Lilongwe where COPUA was briefing the MPs on the abortion bill.
During the meeting, members of Parliament commended COPUA for the bringing the bill for debate.
Two members of Parliament expressed worry over a number of clauses which is talking about heavy fines.
“The bill is good but I don’t understand why is the bill imposing heavy penalties to health workers alone I fill this bill should be refined alittle bit,” Said one MP who was collaborated with two MPs on the same matter.
Abortion is an experience that many women in all cultures and regions in the world pass through their lives. Statistics show that annually 46 millions of women in the world have abortions.
Statistics indicate that 70 000 women procure abortion yearly in Malawi for a variety of reasons and not out of frivolousness.
Health experts believe that passing through an experience of an abortion is a difficult decision for every women and when a woman opt for an abortion is because she considers that as the best decision.
One of the health experts Lastone Chikoti said “Abortion only kills when it’s performed in unsafe conditions. Unsafe abortions accounts for about 68 deaths of women 95% of each take place in developing countries. In Approximately 70,000 women have abortions every year.
About 30,000 of these women are treated for complications of unsafe abortion annually.
Unsafe abortion is a problem that affects women of every colors, races, ethnical origins, religions and political parties.”
However, Chikoti said if abortion is performed in safe conditions it offers very few risks for the health of women.
“The penalization of abortion does not contribute to its reduction. There are countries with restrictive legislations that present high rates of abortions while there are countries in which abortion is not criminalized and the rates of unsafe abortions are reduced.
“Penalization of abortion only contributes to the increase of the number of women’s deaths due to unsafe abortion, as the prohibition takes a lot of women to perform abortions clandestinely and in high-risk conditions,” Said Chikoti.
Chikoti said , apart from being ineffective to reduce the rates of abortion, restrictive laws contribute for a high and unjustifiable number of women’s deaths.
According to Chikoti, in countries where the law on abortion was liberalized, there has been no increase of the number of abortions performed.
“However there are evidences based statistics that prove that after the change in law to allow abortion, some countries registered a drastic reduction of the number of deaths due to unsafe abortion.
An example of that is neighbor South Africa where after the liberalization of abortion in 1996, there was a decrease in the number of deaths due to unsafe abortion to 91% in only 5 years.” said Chikoti