Malawi MPs urge for dialogue in abortion bill

Members of Parliament from Health Committee and Legal Affairs have asked civil society organizations working on adoption of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, popularly known as “Abortion Bill” to dialogue with other sectors of the society on the issue of abortion.

Dr Jessie Kabwira (Right) following discussions

Dr Jessie Kabwira (Right) following discussions

Deputy speaker Clement Chiwaya opening the meeting

Deputy speaker Clement Chiwaya opening the meeting

More than 55 organizations under Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) are championing the passing of newly developed Termination of Pregnancy Bill which needs parliamentary approval to become law, to make it easier for women to get safe abortions.

Abortion is a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail in Malawi, unless it is required to save a woman’s life.

This pushes 70,000 Malawian women to have backstreet terminations each year, 31,000 of which result in complications, including death, according to government figures.

The bill would allow women to terminate pregnancies which result from rape or incest, endanger their lives, may cause mental or physical health complications, or where the foetus is severely malformed.

The MPs have also proposed meetings of religious leaders and chiefs so that they are the ones who should help in taking the message to the people.

Parliamentarians also proposed that there is need for adequate sensitization of the bill at local level so that everyone especially at village level is aware of the bill.

Speaking in Mangochi on Saturday, during a day workshop on the proposed bill and its way forward, Chairperson of Parliamentary Health Committee, Juliana Lunguzi of Dedza East said it is not easy for Members of Parliament to convince people on the need for women to access safe abortion services without a proper dialogue.

“Abortion is a sensitive matter. It is difficult for Parliamentarians to sit down under the tree with the people and say go and abort. People will easily say that the MP is allowing killing. We need wider consultations. Let also talk about preventive measures on unwanted pregnancies ,” said Lunguzi.

Member of Parliament for Salima North, Dr. Jessie Kabwila, said that there is no Bill in parliament and it is too early for MPs to come up with a position and asked for more time and consultation with local Malawians on the issue.

“We have not met as Women Caucus. It is too early to say anything as a Caucus. We will need the views of those who voted for us. However as women we are not happy that fellow women are dying because of unsafe abortion,” she said.

Agness Nyalonje from Mzimba North advised civil society organization to engage religious groups over the matter so that faith groups are part of the solution.

MPs revealed that a group opposing abortion known as Culture of Life Africa led by a Nigerian lady based in UK Ms Obianuju Ekeocha and Ms Travon Clifton from USA met them at Cross Roads Hotel in Lilongwe on Wednesday evening to oppose abortion bill.

“It was an emotional meeting but we were not told how to stop deaths of women. This shows that there is need of dialogue,” said one MP at this meeting.

A senior gynecology lecture at the College of Medicine, Dr Chisale Mhango, backed the law reform on abortion. Mhango said current laws of Malawi allow abortion but they are restrictive.

“Section 243 of the Penal Code allows surgical operation abortion to save the life of a woman. But there are no guidelines for health workers. Therefore reforming the law is necessary,” said Mhango.

Mhango said, studies so far have indicated that 75 Percent of country’s beds are being occupied by women being treated with post abortion complications. He said currently Malawi is losing USD1Million in post abortion care and treatment.

Malawi Government established a Special Law Commission on Review of Abortion Laws in 2013 which released its report in July and scrapped criminalization of individuals procuring abortion.

The commission recommended termination of pregnancy to save the life of a woman, retaining the current section 243 of the Penal Code.

However COPUA has criticized the proposed Bill that it is still very restrictive.

“The new Bill does not allow abortion on demand and on social economic reasons which means thousands women will still not qualify for abortion,” said recently Chairperson of COPUA, Godfrey Kangaude.

At a meeting Society of Medical Doctors at Sun and Sand hotel in Mangochi in September, some doctors raised concern that the proposed Termination of Pregnancy may not address the problem as the new law is still restrictive.

“The church has influenced a lot the content of the proposed Bill hence these restrictions . Government review these new restrictions“, said one doctor based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The Catholic Church has publicly opposed the bill.

“Those who have been raped and found to be pregnant… have to be helped to accept their situation and the gift that God has given them,” Father Henry Saindi, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, is on record saying.
When passed into law, Malawi will join Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Cape Verde and Ghana among African countries in having a clear law on how to terminate pregnancy.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Clement Chiwaya opened the meeting where he asked members of Parliament to be serious in discussing matters that affect Malawians.

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22 thoughts on “Malawi MPs urge for dialogue in abortion bill”

  1. Mzozo kununkha says:

    No wonder this is being mobilized by Lunguzi and Kabwila ana a Lazalo (MCP). What type of government will this MCP going to make? isn’t you jessie who was on the fore front parading with the authorisation of condoms in primary schools? you have now taken a broader aproach another one of its own kind.
    Is killing safe?Go get your bible exodus 20 vs 8………… read this chapter with a sobber mind, meditate and………oh Jessi and Julie!!!! and I am not supprised to see someone who is not married pursuing this………. letter J in the bible is a treasure, a wonder but you are just the opposite and a disgrace
    If this is not a shame why is it that you are failing to sit under a tree with you own people women by the way and discuss this? Church leaders but why? Money? God? choose who you are going to save but I and my family will save YAHWEH.

  2. nachisale says:

    Let the Abortion Bill be passed so that women have more rights over their reproductive choices. There is a large number of women suffering to raise children whose fathers ran away. No one condemns men or fathers who abandon children as killers when in actual fact they are. In fact, men enjoy impregnating girls and women and running away from responsibility. The church should not be consulted because all churches promote a patriarchal culture which continues to oppress women. My church has never helped me with money to look after my children – all priests and pastors claim life is sanctified when men are allowed to abandon life. We need the abortion bill to give freedom to all girls and women to abort not to pass a bill that has obstacles and privileges rich women and girls. By the way, who are these backward Nigerian women trying to block an abortion bill in Malawi? Let them go back to Abuja and speak that nonsense there. We, women in Malawi want the Abortion Bill passed and all those against it because of bigoted religious and oppressive cultural views should shut up. Women have the right to conceive and equally abort for social, economic, health and personal reasons. No one owns a woman’s body but herself that is why women seek backstreet abortions because the decision to keep pregnancy is theirs. But because backstreet abortions are unsafe, it is the responsibility of our government and MPs to provide safe abortions to all women and girls by passing this important bill. This will also help in controlling our high population. Let the women lobby be strong and tactical on this so that a comprehensive abortion bill is passed. The church should keep its dogmas out of this and bigoted idiots should equally shut up. Let the Abortion Bill be PASSED.

    1. wa ku Mitchesi kujaaaaa!!!! says:

      Yes, @Nachisale! Tell them.
      Like the men, religious leaders and some women falsely promoting women’s rights, when in actual fact they are promoting the disgusting extreme patriarchy that has kept women down, as men’s slaves for ever. …Malawian women bear 101% of the child raising responsibilities! They are fed up. And modern thinking men should support their wishes.
      Those against safe abortions often use strong language to shock us all. Your language is to-the-point; but I doubt if they will even counter your arguments.

  3. N Neno says:

    This will be a referendum question in 2019.

  4. Why dont pipo use condoms or do it for fun not pro_creation..wake up pipo its 21st century baby!!!

  5. James Phiri says:

    Never be cheated that there is safe abortion. What you should know is that, there are 3 things that happen, 1. There is injury to the mother as the spanners and other instruments that are used to terminate pregnancy, 2. Death (killing) of the of the innocent baby and 3. One has to be paid for the killing of the baby. This issue is being perpetrated by the whites that are still struggling to get resources from Africa. They tried to bring AIDS to Africa, to kill some Africa in order to control the population and it failed, they introduced condoms that have failed as well. Now they are now campaigning for abortion. The mother remains with trauma for entire life as she sleeps she sees the baby coming(nightmares). Why should the whites impose their culture to Africans. Koma mudziwe nchakuti the moment you accept this law, know kuti you have allowed the devil to rule this country. And all you that will accept that will be cursed people. Ndalama a Malawi taziika pa nambala 1. These are the very people that are encouraging mathanyula(homosexuals) knowing that you cannot reproduce. The purpose is to continue stealing resources from Africa. The major problem are our African leaders that are selfish. They are hungry for money and this is why we have started killing babies so that you can make money. GOD is watching you.

  6. madiulaaa says:

    Malawi is not ready for abortion law ,,mps please dnt supporte that, those cso ngati adyakale akayesele Ana awoo kaye nt poor malawians noooo, big nooo. Koma ma mps a mcp zimenezo akavomeleza sikwachuluka mbuzi za anthu,,Cso please find something To advocate ..

  7. Tonde says:

    I support abortion. It is good and useful to avoid bearing unwanted children. Legalise it forthwith!

  8. The Most Concerned says:

    Abortion bill is only good for the Spinsters like Jessie Kabwira coz she z not married so people wil definitely question her about the man responsible 4 the pregnancy she wil be carrying.

  9. safusa says:

    White people wear wigs and have hair extensions, get a life| There are important issues in this world especially your poor country Malawi.

  10. gulugunya says:

    Jessie Jessie. Why are you disappointed? Why supporting your chin by hands? Why all of you KJessie and your fellow respondents are disappointed? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    One day God will touch for supporting abortion bill.What are you thinking? Is it the double standards you are playing by teaching that there is God with his ten commandments which we need to follow.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Yet you are campaigning against the same commandments by supporting abortion bill?

  11. WENDY WALKER says:

    Please go to

    http://WWW.ABORTIONBREASTCANCER .COM/THE_LINKHTM

    For information on this very important subject

    Thank you

  12. WENDY WALKER says:

    I am writing from The Uk …Abortion is WRONG ……..Every child is a blessing here they perform abortions at all gestations 600 plus every day …..and sometimes it isnt always just the Baby who dies ……Abortion is the cause of many illnesses both Mental and Physical especially the ABC link the fact that abortion can cause Breast Cancer …..those who favour abortion prefer people not ot know the truth of this hideous evil act …Once a Country legalises abortion everything changes the respect for life is gone …..they use euphenisms like safe abortion ….treatment ..foetus ,products of pregnancy because using hte correct terms shows the Humanity of that little baby ….PLEASE SAY NO ……Abortion is bloody racist negative and permanent

  13. Chenkope says:

    Nkhani koma imeneyi. Inu ma MP ngati simukambirana bill imeneyi kumuzi kuno musabwere tizakugendani azimai akumwalira koma inu mukuchulusa zidodo kobasi. Tikufuna Bill imeneyo kuno kumudzi.

  14. john phiri says:

    This issue is critical. I remember some yrs ago . I had two children. The second child was about 6 months. My wife told me IAM PREGNANT Eesh !!!!!! It was like a bomb to my life. I was very stranded confused not nowing what to do. I suggested she must abort but how? We discussed she agreed to abort but how? We tried to go to Banja la Msogolo kwa chimseu in Ndirande, explained to the health assistant but he said its impossible, not allowed. We ‘re God fearing family, I explained to my pastor, no help at all. with my faith I just let God to be God. We’re poor that time failing even to buy 1kg likuni phala from PTC. I THNK GOD THE THIRD BABY CAME UNPLANNED at a difficult time. I tell you by the Grace of God all children are alive. This third girl is 20yrs old form 4 MSCE CANDIDATE 2015/16 EXAMS. when I see I nearly start crying I remember WE WANTED TO ABORT THIS CHILD. this is a real Malawians God Bless you.

  15. Rasta says:

    There is nothing like safe abortion,as useful idiots and satanists continue to push for satanic values into our society inoder to create a dysfunctional society that will be a slave to the devil(Lucifer).

  16. The Analyst says:

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    “Thou shall not commit murder.” – Exodus 20:13
    Abortion stands at variance with the above verse. It is therefore a sin.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    “Don’t be deceived or misled. God cannot be mocked. You will harvest what you plant.” – Galatians 6:7

    The legality of abortion can never be justified by number of deaths from unsafe abortions. If somebody dies while procuring an abortion, no just or godly mortal can shed a tear hence justify the need to legalise abortion. Infact thats what they deserve since the justice of God cannot be mocked. If a woman or girl dies of abortion-related complications should anyone feel sorry for them?; when technically they die while attempting to kill or cause death? I don’t think so!
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Abortion is diabolical! Evil! Pure evil! And therefore an act of servitude to the devil!

    Serve God and live . . . Serve Satan and die.

    “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose . . . whom u will serve . . . . But for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” – Job 24:15

    And “NO” to abortion and legalisation thereof; we shall say!!!!
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  17. AS A FORMER FOETUS I SAY NO TO ABORTION.LET US TEACH WOMEN TO AVOID UNWANTED PREGNANCY.IF A WOMAN GETS PREGNANT SHE CAN AS WELL CONTRACT HIV.CAN OPERATIONS TAKE OUT HIV?NO,IT CANNOT.

  18. Ngwenya says:

    I choose to be neutral on this issue

    1. The Analyst says:

      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      “If you choose to be neutral in a situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say you are neutral; the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu (South African Social Right Activist)
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  19. Zanako says:

    God will surely punish us for what this as a country .the fact that other countries have legalised this does not mean its a right thing to do .this is killing period .

  20. Brazilian Wax says:

    I just like Kabwila’s short hair style. It just shows black woman high self esteem. isn’t it shameful to see black women; educated or uneducated, rich or poor, literate or illiterate in artificial hairs? I wonder what’s the feeling like when white people see us imitating their hairs. Black women, better just treat your hairs. Who said putting on mesh is beautiful or trendy? It’s awful! It communicates xenocentrism on the part of our genotype/phenotype.

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