The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has said it is not part of Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) leadership position on abortion, stating that the position of the Synod on abortion remains no.
Last week, Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) executive board chairperson Reverend Alex Maulana during a 2 day consultation meeting jointly organized by MCC, an umbrella organization of 25 Christian denominations and 20 Para-church organisations, and IPAS’s coordinated Coalition for Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) in Mangochi backed the proposed Termination of Pregnancy Bill arguing it would reduce maternal deaths.
“The church’s stand regarding abortion is that it is a sin, but taking into account the fact that our women, mostly from poor backgrounds are dying due to unsafe abortion, there is need for the church to break the silence on abortions so that Malawians can liberalise its laws on abortion.
“So, the church should not allow the flock, especially women, to continue dying to something that can be prevented. We will continue enlightening the flock about the dangers of abortion, but at the same time remains a necessary evil to save women’s lives,” said Maulana, who is also the General Secretary of CCAP Blantyre Synod, in an interview with Sunday Times.
However, CCAP Synod of Livingstonia general secretary Levi Nyondo told Nation On Sunday that the Synod, as a member of MCC, was not consulted, and even if they were consulted their stand would be no.
“We were not consulted and even if we were consulted, we could have opposed it. Our position has not changed because God’s law doesn’t change. If they consulted people in hotels, they should not say that it is the position of the church,” said Nyondo.
Nation On Sunday reported that several church leaders have disassociated their churches from the remarks made by MCC leadership through its executive board chairperson. MCC Board of Trustees chairperson Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe conceded that disagreements had emerged in MCC over the stance of the chairperson.
“During the last executive meeting, I personally warned against rushing into a position. The fact that one pastor is convinced this is okay should not be used as a position of the diverse grouping. Even in USA the issue is very contentions. As a church, we find life to be sacred and if government accepts this it does not mean the church too should support this,” said Bvumbwe.
However, Maulana insisted that MCC members were present and in agreement with his position that sparked the debate.
“We do not speak as individuals. We were at a meeting. It was in the meeting context that we acknowledged that some of the conditions were accepted. Members were present and some didn’t come. If it [the story] was presented in full context there could have been no debate, but it was not quoted in full. Rape, incest and minors getting pregnant according to certain conditions for example due to rape, this is what we want people to think about. This is coming because people are getting a lot of unsafe abortion and women and girls are dying,” argued Maulana.
Recently, the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), an umbrella mother body of 122 Church denominations and Christian organisations, called on Members of Parliament in Malawi to take responsibility by standing up for life through rejecting the proposed law if tabled in the next parliament citing that the bill promotes the culture of death.
“Abortion- with the exception whereby a woman’s life is in real danger as already provided for by our current laws- even under the grounds where the pregnancy is as a result of rape, incest or defilement has no Biblical and human rights basis. While rape, incest or defilement are undesirable, evil and sinful acts in the eyes of God, nowhere in the Bible do we see God instructing believers to abort a life that is conceived as a result of these conditions.
“This does not in any way suggest that God condones these undesirable and sinful acts. But rather it signifies the fact that human life-starting from conception- is sacred before the eyes of God. Justice demands that only perpetrators pay for their crimes, not the innocent unborn child” argued Mkandawire.
Mkandawire further faulted Section 3(b) of the proposed abortion bill where it authorizes abortion “ to prevent injury to physical or mental health of a pregnant woman” arguing that this was a hidden abortion on demand because poverty, shame, unplanned pregnancy, getting kicked out of school can cause mental or physical health issues.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Catholic mother body in Malawi, through the Pastoral Letter titled “Mercy of God as a path of hope” issued in March 2016 faulted “foreign nations and agencies who attach aid to values and practices that are contrary to our culture”, and indicated that “such practices are not only against our culture but also contrary to our laws and beliefs.
The Catholic bishops labelled the proponents of abortion legislation as “agents of the culture of death”, and indicated that through campaigning for abortion legislation human life is under direct attack.
However, the Coalition for Prevention of Unsafe Abortion chairperson Juliet Sibale argued that women’s rights to decide on their body must be respected.
“We are in a human rights era and for a longtime women’s rights have been neglected. The law has to try to bring the free environment where a woman is able to access a medical facility and is able to be informed. The bottom line is that nobody should make a decision for a woman whether or not to terminate her pregnancy” said SibylFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :