Malawi abortion debate: Pastor Masikamu begs to disagree with doctor Mhango

The subject of abortion is not easy to tackle even in Christian circles. This is because the bible is not clear on this subject but clear on the subject of murder. There is still a worldwide hot debate on this subject that up to now there is no conclusive answer to the subject. The choice is left to an individual with his/her conscience to decide. In some parts of the world, abortion is legal while not in others. The free dictionary (2012) defines abortion as “expulsion from the uterus of the products of conception before the foetus is viable.”

Types of Abortion
There are two major types of abortion; Spontaneous and provoked. “Spontaneous abortion is a natural course of abortion where there is rejection of the foetus by the mother’s body” (Gichure, 1997, p. 147). In simple terms this abortion is referred to as miscarriage.

Provoked abortion is intentionally done or forces the embryo out of the mother’s womb using whatever means. (Gichure, 1997, p. 147). This type of abortion is done in two forms; Direct abortion which is done intentionally to get rid of the pregnancy in order to rescue the life of the mother and indirect abortion which takes place as a result of some other actions such as surgical operations or treatment of some illness. This is not intentional. Abortion which is done by a woman just to get rid of pregnancy falls under direct abortion.

Pastor Masikamu

Pastor Masikamu

The question is “is abortion right or wrong, legally accepted or not. Here are the arguments for and against abortion.

Arguments for abortion
Those who support abortion say that a foetus is not a human being. It is not a life yet but of the mother’s whom the mother can decide to terminate just as she does with a nail and hair. They also say that foetus has no rights because it does not yet know the world which begins when one is born. For instance, if a woman is arrested for abortion considering it as killing, she may ask the court, “If you say I have killed, “what is the name of the baby I have killed? What is the gender of the baby you say I have killed?” These may not be simple questions to answer because the foetus has no name and its gender is not yet known.

In countries where abortion is legal despite the circumstances, it is a woman’s choice to have the baby or not. If one is not ready to mother a child then she has a right to terminate it. If the foetus is suspected of being born with serious deformities it is better for such a baby not to be born other than suffering throughout his/her life. Abortion would help the prospective mother to avoid disgrace of oneself and the family. Those for abortion also argue that if pregnancy came as a result of rape or incest it is better to terminate it other than for the child to know his/her disgraceful origin which will affect him/her and the mother psychologically for the rest of their lives.

Arguments Against Abortion

Those who argue against abortion say that pregnancy is the process of procreation designed by God and should not be prevented. The fact that abortion is legal in most parts of the world does not make it right.  Abortion brings unexpected death of the prospective mother.

We have all heard or witnessed the death of young ladies who die in the process of abortion. People should be responsible of their actions. If the two did not put up measures to avoid pregnancy it means they were ready for it.

People should not avoid taking responsibility of their activities. When pregnancy comes, both a man and a woman should accept the responsibility of being parents rather than terminating the upcoming innocent human life. The mother should take responsibility of protecting the life of the developing baby just as her own mother was responsible of her life when she was unborn.

For biological reasons, abortion is not right because a young lady may become infertile if the process of abortion was not successful enough. She may wish to have a baby at a certain point in life but find not to conceive as a result of abortion.

Religious Perspective on the Subject of Abortion
The bible is silent on this subject. It neither encourages nor discourages the act although the Law of Moses specifically authorises it in the case of a married woman impregnated by a man other than her husband (Numbers 5:12-28). The question of either abortion is sin or not will depend on whether you are religious or not. If you are a Christian or a Muslim and others then yes, if not, it may be not.

Any one called a Christian is religious, so to them abortion is sin because of its religious perspective. The Old Testament also advised that a woman can terminate pregnancy if it came as a result of incest. This was very serious during the Old Testament.

In Roman Catholic, there is a greater emphasis against both abortion and family planning except natural family planning. According to Roman Catholic any means of family planning except natural one is sin.

There are also a number of verses which are used as a key against abortion. In Luke chapter one, verses 36 and 41, we are told that Elisabeth conceived a “son” and that the “baby” leaped in her womb. The bible does not say a “foetus” leaped in her womb! It says the baby leaped. This is the exact word that God uses to describe Christ in the manger after He is born (Luke 2:12, 16). In God’s eyes, an unborn baby and a new-born baby are the same. Melton (1996), says “in reference to pregnant woman, the term “with child” occurs twenty-six times in the bible.” With this perspective, abortion can be considered murder.

Proverbs 6:16-17 says that God hates those who shed innocent blood! Deuteronomy 27:25 says, “Cursed is he that takes reward to slay an innocent person”. In Matthew 7:12, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “do to others as you would like them do to you.” Can you imagine your mother, aborting when she was pregnant of you! You wouldn’t be where you are today. So think in that line before you abort.

God created man to be the highest form of life on earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Human life is so precious that God Himself instituted the Death Penalty for anyone who takes the life of another (Ex. 21:12; Num. 35). In Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord says, “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Abortion is an act against God’s will. Whether one is born through unwanted pregnancy or not, it is life and should be preserved. Some of you may agree that you know people who were born through unwanted pregnancies and they are great people today, some of whom are preachers.

Why is Abortion wrong?
Of late most African governments including Malawi are considering legalising abortion as one way of reducing death that comes as a result of having unsafe abortion outside the hospital. The idea of reducing death is right but the means of doing it is wrong. I think it would be better to emphasise on means of avoiding pregnancy other than taking life. The fact that the foetus is not yet born does not guarantee abortion.

During abortion imagine the baby crying in your womb saying “why are you hurting me mum, why mum, why?” “Why are you taking my life, what wrong have I done?” This is the life that is innocent coming as a reward of one’s own actions. Most people engage in unprotected sex consciously and in such, pregnancy is expected. It is not an accident. Remember, you always have control to make a choice but once you make it, the choice will control you. Once there is pregnancy as a result of sexual immorality, let the two involved be responsible, after all if you are a student you can go back to school later own after preserving life.

I believe that, just as condoms have promoted sexual immorality, legalisation of abortion will worsen the situation. Abortion will encourage immoral behaviour such as adultery, fornication and prostitution. Many young people have engaged in sexual immorality knowing that, condom will protect them from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. I have heard some young ladies saying that they use condom because they fear pregnancy not HIV/AIDS.

They say AIDS may take long time to be known but pregnancy will embarrass them, tarnish their relationship with parents, some say it will hinder their education. Such reasons may sound good but not helpful. If one doesn’t want pregnancy, then abstain.

If abortion is legalised, parents will have no control over their daughters because the law will be on their (daughters) side. In this case they can get pregnancy as many times as they can because services for legal abortion are available.

My other question is; what will the law say on those who conceal child birth by dumping the newly born baby in the toilet? Will it still attract arrest? What if she says, “I didn’t want abortion for fear of its side effects but I was also not ready to be a mother” Isn’t this her choice also? Abortion would not be a problem if it is done as a result of medical complications, thus if the pregnancy has put the life of the mother at risk. In such circumstances let abortion be done so that one life is saved other than loosing both as a result of the mother’s death before the baby is born.

The other negative part of abortion is that it brings guilty conscious. One does not have peace for the rest of her/his life for being involved in abortion knowing that life was terminated. As a Christian I believe that abortion is sin. This is because it is an act that brings valuable life to unexpected end.

As in the case of incest and rape, abortion should not be done, let God be the judge other than taking an innocent life that God has created.

One South African gospel musician and pastor (name deliberately withheld), was born as a result of rape. Know that God transforms something that is meant for bad will to good. “In all things (good or bad) God works for the good of those who love Him…” (Romans 8:28). Young ladies, do not be blackmailed by your lovers, if one truly loves you, he will never convince you to have abortion but will take responsibility because its side effects are deadly.

By this writing, I am advising Malawi government to consider not legalising abortion for the sake of reducing sexual immorality in our country. The government should not only consider aid that will come as a result of legalising abortion but also moral part of it.

* Pastor Robert Masikamu is a Malawian Master of Arts Student at Africa Nazarene University, Nairobi, Kenya.

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