Two influential church mother bodies, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) of the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) –an umbrella mother body of 122 Christian denominations and organisations- have described the added conditions in the proposed Termination of Pregnancy Bill as mere scapegoat and trap, saying they will take to the streets to demonstrate.
The performance of abortion is generally illegal with the exception of where it can be done to save the life of the pregnant woman in extreme conditions.
However, the proposed abortion law adds the following conditions as necessitating abortion: prevent of injury to the physical or mental health of a woman; where the pregnancy results from rape, incest or defilement; and where several malformation of the fetus, which will alter its viability or compatibility with life.
The churche say in a joint statement issued on 17 November and read at a news conference in Lilongwe, that the added conditions in the proposed bill are nothing but a trap.
“We observe that the added conditions in the proposed ‘Killing of unborn life Bill’ are a mere scapegoat and trap in order to attract public sympathy and also capitalize on such in order to advance abortion on demand. We would like to concur with doctors under Christian Medical Doctors and Dental Fellowship in their recent statement that while the wording in the proposed Abortion Bill may not be as liberal as the South African Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996, the inclusion of a clause allowing termination of pregnancy on the grounds of preventing injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman has led other countries to effectively practice abortion on demand which the Law Commission have specifically stated they wanted to avoid.” reads the statement signed by Rev. Father. Henry Saindi and Rev. Francis Mkandawire ECM and EAM general secretaries respectively.
The two groups cite the UK government report whereby around 98% of the 6.7 million abortions performed in the United Kingdom since a liberalization of abortion law in 1967 have taken place under this clause.
“It can therefore be stated that the inclusion of this clause in the proposed law is not to promote life but rather a hidden abortion on demand because poverty, shame, unplanned pregnancy, getting kicked out of school can cause mental or physical health,” argued Saindi and Mkandawire.
ECM and EAM strongly hold that abortion, with exception cases whereby a woman’s life is in real danger as already provided by Malawi’s current laws, even under the rare grounds where the pregnancy is as a result of rape, incest or defilement has no Biblical and human rights basis. Research indicates that rape, incest abortions account for only 1% of abortions every year.
“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 rare 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. Spiritual and psychosocial therapy and support services, as well as options for care provision to children born from ‘unwanted’ pregnancies as well as to the mothers should therefore be priotised under such circumstances” reads the statement.
ECM and EAM further fault the much-claimed causal-effect relationship between high prevalence of maternal mortality and unsafe abortion citing that it has tended to be wanting in several aspects when one considers the case studies of other countries.
“Despite having liberal abortion laws since 1996 it is reported that South Africa has had an alarming surge in maternal deaths. On contrary, Egypt-with very restrict abortion laws- are amongst the top performers by registering lowest maternal mortality ratio. The truth of the matter is that the majority of maternal deaths are due to lack of basic healthcare. By improving access to, and the quality of, prenatal and postnatal healthcare in Malawi, the number of maternal deaths could be reduced significantly.” Reads the statement.
According to the two mother bodies, abortion is literally killing or murder of innocent lives
“We therefore reiterate the fact that abortion, whether ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ is literally killing or murder of innocent lives. In fact, there is nothing like ‘safe killing’ or ‘unsafe’ killing. One in his or her normal senses cannot say: ‘I am safely killing somebody’ or ‘I am safely sinning. Killing is killing. Sinning is sinning. It is therefore premised on this that the deception of ‘safe abortion’ under the guise of ‘sexual reproductive health rights, has no moral, Biblical, scientific and human rights basis.”
The two mother bodies then appeals to Malawians to stand up for life by saying NO to legalization of abortion.
“It is therefore important for citizens of Malawi to stand up for life by saying NO to the culture of death manifested in the proposed law. If tabled in Parliament, we appeal to Members of Parliament to promote and defend life by VOTING NO to this proposed ‘Killing of unborn life’ bill.
“By doing so, they will demonstrate that every unborn child, not only the mother, has the right to life. It is time for Malawi to publicly reaffirm that no human being is owned by another human being, and that Parliament, foreign agencies, cabinet or judiciary do not have the mandate to authorize the killing of innocent unborn children.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :