Malawi reforms abortion laws to legalise termination of pregnancy

The Malawi Special Law Commission on Abortion on Friday unveiled a final report on abortion law review which contains a new abortion bill known as Termination of Pregnancy Bill whhich advances for liberalisation of abortion in the country as opposed to decriminalisation.

Chombo: New abortion bill

Chombo: New abortion bill

The final findings were presented at the function which took place at Capital Hotel in the capital city Lilongwe last Friday and was attended by all 10 members of Special Commission on the Review of the Abortion Law

During the function, Chairperson of the Special commission, Justice Esmie Chombo, highlighted that the recommendations in the report is true reflection of what Malawians have been looking on the ground.

“For a long time, government has bemoaned the high prevalence of maternal mortality in Malawi and has identified unsafe abortion as one of the major contributing factors to this problem,”said Chombo

In the report, the commission has finally scrapped criminalization of individuals procuring abortion.

For starters, the current position of law is that abortion is illegal in Malawi except where it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman through a surgical operation.

The current law criminalizes all such acts of procuring or assisting in the procuring of miscarriage of pregnant woman.

Chombo said: “Having considered all the information and literature, on matters of unsafe arbotion, the commission resolved and agreed that the law on abortion should be liberalised (that is conditional relaxation of the restrictions) as opposed to decriminalization of cater for certain justifiable instances where termination of a pregnancy should be permissible.”

She said “the termination of pregnancy should be performed on request and the disclosure of the victim about the same.”

In the new law which awaits the nod of Malawi Parliament, abortion will be permissible to prevent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, where pregnancy endangers the life of a woman, where pregnancy is as a result of rape, incest and defilement and where pregnancy has resulted into severe malformation of the foetus which will affect its viability.

“Victims of these sexual offences seeking to terminate a pregnancy are required to report the incident to the police, and the police must record the crime in the form of a police report,” explained Justice Chombo.

However, stakeholders which included the media thought the new law is still restrictive and pressed the commission on the statement appearing on page 8 of the commission statement which did not allow women to procure abortion on demand and for economic reasons or for contraceptive failure.

However evading the criticism from the stakeholders, Commissioner Dr Anne Phoya said most women in Malawi are poor.

“Now if we allow recommendations based on poverty, it means every women will be knocking on the doors seeking for abortion,” said Phoya.

“We know that some people wanted more, that the law should be like South Africa. Malawi is not South Africa.  We considered views from different stakeholders including faith groups. This is a compromise of various views,” responded Commissioner Bishop Geofrey Matoga

The Special Commission comprised of members from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Malawi Council of Churches, Muslim Association of Malawi, Traditional Leaders, the Law Society, and the Malawi College of Medicine.

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.

Research published by Malawi Ministry of Health reveals that 70,000 women procure abortion every year, 17% of maternal mortality is as a result of unsafe abortion and 80% of women and girls who procure abortion are married or in stable permanent relationships.

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50 thoughts on “Malawi reforms abortion laws to legalise termination of pregnancy”

  1. Mangochi says:

    Asatana nonse amane mukulimbikitsa kuchotsa mamoyo a ana oti sanabadwe may the great Lord punish you

  2. phodo says:

    Mai Chombo on frontline encouraging abortion. Please, stop it.Its murdering.Its punishable in presence of God. If that is allowed, then change that Malawi is God fearing nation to something else.

  3. gabrie says:

    Those who are agree with abortion, ur stustupid

  4. nthumbwana says:

    we were told to increase & fill the whole world through Adam now you greedy leaders come up with that plan,what if your momz had aborted u.lets just go ahead the world still have a huge space.

  5. Malawi says:

    Where is Malawi heading? May God help us. Justice Chombo, if your Mum had that cruel and inhumane thinking you wouldn’t be sitting there discussing that rubbish. That’s selfishness. Where are u getting those powers to encourage this barbaric act instead of telling people about salvation. When people are genuinely saved unwanted pregnants will not be an issue. People will not be indulging in sexual sin , or rape because the spirit will be at work guiding all to live a live pleasing to God. Lets preach Salvation not Abortion.

  6. Truth says:

    The sin is in the sex not the pregnancy just avoid sex but pliz don’t kill innocent babies they were not part of the sexual act. Maybe the ones we kill ndi amene anakakhala ma gud leaders not ma thieves omwe alipiwa. I suggest let us kill all these cashgate thieves to make space for these kids. #don’tkillinnocentbabies

  7. Paul Mhone says:

    Siyani za abortion , ngati chasowa chopanga just legalise ganja

  8. Ishmael Makwinja says:

    There was a conference for unborn babies on the same.Its life to life strategy.If any useless woman dares to basing on these lame excuses, she is in for it.

  9. zacharia chazama says:

    THESE TWO; GANJA & ABORTION MUST BE LEGALIZED

  10. Giving people the licence to kill shame on you & you will answer this on the Judgement Day. What kind of leaders are you? Useless people!

  11. Dambudzo mwasax says:

    If women don’t want unnecessary pregnancies they can use zishango(condoms)Mukuoneka kuti amalawi mumakonda mapuleni kwabasi at the end mukatenga mimba zanuzo muzikabudula.Ndiufiti umenewo.You never know kuti mwina mukubudula mapulezidenti amutsogolo.

  12. fredpa says:

    let us think twice for every resolution we make.Let us have laws that will prevent unwanted pregnancies not laws to terminate life.We can do it,abortion mainly comes when one of the two responsible for the pregnancy denies responsibility.Malawi’s situation is getting worse,school going children are being inpregnated and for them to get rid of shame they go for abortion but since our laws cant acomodate their condition they go for unsafe abortion.Let us be pro-active not reactive,we need to prevent some pregnancies that are deliberately done by unmarried persons.

  13. Bondera says:

    Ndarama mukuonongazi tagulani ma contraceptives kuti anthu kuti anthu azilera than mbwelera zanuzi. How are u going to convince some HCW who believe that intentional abortion is killing and will not do it and you going to force them to do it.

  14. Zidura Ntengo Undigwere says:

    Kalanga ine!!!!!!
    Why do most Malawians find the idea of abortion on demand repugnant, judging by most comments here? Is it because we are such a poor people, and not well educated generally, that we also fail read the world as it currently is? Or is it that religion, for some unknown reasons, has high jacked peoples’ thinking, and the sense of fair judgment? And church, mosque or temple patrons just read the scriptures, and take the written word AS IS, rather than interpret it? There is no question, the commission was intimidated by the members of the “clergy”. All men. Patriarchy raising it’s ugly head, again!
    Abortion affects the pregnant woman physiologically, psychologically and many other ways. Men may be affected peripherally, and only psychologically, if at all. Let the decision be the woman’s. And don’t involve men in this. We are talking about pregnancies outside marriage here. Get that?

  15. Alungwana says:

    Abortion is evil and an abuse of human rights. Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.

  16. Makija says:

    So this is how the tax I pay is utilised? Priorities. Priorities priorities priorities priorities priorities!!!!!!!!

  17. NYAKWAWA says:

    abortion law legalised???? and we keep on claiming that we are a God fearing nation???

  18. Yamie says:

    Abortion is a wicked act and it attract God’s wrath. Do not legalize it, this is a wrong path we are taking as a nation, next we will hear that its gay marriage, God have marcy

  19. Yamie says:

    The right to abort is the right to kill, let those who do that do it secretly, don legalize this wicked act. judgement will come on this land.

  20. Mwana Mai says:

    Munthu amadya ndicholinga choti akhute, samara kuti apite kuchimbudzi. Ngati sitikufuna kuberekana the best you can advise the would be parents is to use contraceptives other than encouraging people or rather women to commit crimes by terminating pregnancies, siufiti umenewo? How do you kill an innocent foetus in the of controlling unwanted MIMBA? Ndani sadziwa kuti ukaponda minga uli bare ndiye kuti mingayo ikulasa? Chimodzi modzi engaging in sex with no protective gear should result into pregnancies.

  21. nachisale says:

    ABORTION SHOULD BE FREE TO ALL WOMEN in MALAWI. I therefore agree with Zuwulani that there two many restrictions in the current bill and the Law Commission has been very unhelpful and to hear Phoya speaking nonsense as if most of poverty stricken children do not die or live a miserable life, shows how dull and backward even our so-called professionals are. Let women have the right to abort for both economic and social reasons i.e. they do not have the financial resources to look after the pregnancy and child but also and I EMPHASISE THIS – if a man denies or runs away from pregnancy then a woman should also have the same right to say she does not want to keep the pregnancy. It is unfair that men can decide to abandon pregnancy and not look after a child/children and this responsibility falls on women. It is time ABORTION is FREE to ALL WOMEN. The bill SHOULD have a clause that ‘if a man denies pregnancy and refuses to support the yet-to-be born child then a woman has the right to abort.’

    1. Khuth'upa o'Machemba says:

      nachisale: I agree with your stand on this issue.
      And, I would go further in that safe abortions should be available to our women without any caveats like the last statement in your posting: “…if a man denies pregnancy and refuses to support the yet-to-be born child…”
      It should be up to the woman, period. And she should NOT have to give reasons, or to justify her demands.

  22. mr nasson says:

    i dony think rapee, incest defilement can be best reasons of abortion ligalisation. God gives gift of life at conception otherwise nobody has the mandate to terminate life

  23. Davien says:

    Abortion is 21st century genocide. Don’t do it!!! Life begins at fertilisation.

  24. haha says:

    MAHULE INU MUZINGOYUZA MA CONDOM. CHOTENGERA MIMBA MUSAKUYIFUNA NCHIYANI, KUKANDA PLAIN BASI

  25. wez says:

    This is not good, why the Law favor women at all the time ? U even proud to say south africa ghana and other country they do that. Look south africa Sattan is walking alive u can’t compare with us we r very christian country. Chonde Aboma pangani njila yina yotetezela zimenedzi pali njira zambili zothesela mchitidwe umenewo.

  26. Well done indeed. As a woman and someone who has ever aborted before i think this is a good law. Bravo Malawi

    1. mphwiyo says:

      Umachnditsa plain chifukwa chiani. Bwanji osauza condom ngati sumafuna mimba

  27. Muhekere wa Muhekere says:

    morally pregnancy can be terminated when it is ectopic (fertilisation takes place in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus) or when the foetus poses danger to the health of the mother like when cancer develops in the uterus. We are against indiscriminate abortion. Life is sacred from conception to natural death. If I may ask. Has the distribution of condoms reduced the infection rate of HIV/AIDS?

  28. tazameni says:

    mwaliona dziko lija mumalitamandirari kuti ndiloopa mulungu lasiya kulemekeza mphatso ya moyo.arbortion law is a life tragedy to malawi

  29. Mkuta Madzi says:

    Mulungu akalankhula yekha ku Parliament komko. The God we serve is not dead; is a living God.

  30. nachisale says:

    WELL DONE! Soon we need to have full law that allows all women to seek abortion when they want to. For a long time, men have had the choice to abandon pregnancy and children and yet no-one sees men as killers when actually they are – children without the support of their fathers suffer a lot in poverty and many eventually die. So, it is just right that women have a similar choice to choose to keep pregnancy. Also, all those opposing are generally men or women whose minds have been poisoned by patriarchy. However, being pregnant and keeping pregnancy should be a woman’s choice because it is her body. Men do not help us instead they continue running around like wild animals impregnating more women. This bill will help reduce population too and right now the reason our hospitals are under pressure and people dying needlessly is because of high population. Bravo those who have fought and continue to fight for abortion to be legalised in Malawi.

  31. Zuwulani says:

    I want to agree with number 4 Man. Nothing has changed here. Women will not freely terminate pregnancy. There are too many restrictions. What new thing has the commission brought? They need to include abortion on request and based on economic and social reasons. Parliament should more grounds.

  32. Zuwulani says:

    Kodi zomwezi za Chipatalazi mpana kupita ku polisi? What is the use of One Stop Centers? Apolosi are busy pano with security breakdown in the country and you want to add to them work that has no impact on fighting crime. Inu mukuti muthetse imfa za azimayi kenaso mukuti azimai apite ku Polisi. Which is which? You have listened too much kwa anthu atchalitchi chifukwa chake mukupeleka ziphyinjo kuvuto loti inunso mwaliwona. I hope za polisizo muchotsa…sintchito yawo.

  33. Miss Madam/Sir says:

    Inu tamuonani mzimayi wanzeru zake kumakamba nkhani yakupha ana. Ana ndi mphatso yochokera kwa Mulungu ndiye ngati tivomeleza kutchotsa mimba kaya ndimankhwala achikuda kapena kuchipatala tidana ndi Mulungu wotipatsa mphatsoyo.Tisanamizire kuti mimba yomwe ikumuika pa chiopsezo cha moyo wake mzimayi ikhoza kuchotsedwa. Mimba imabwera ambuye akadalitsa anthu awiri mwamuna ndi mkazi akamagonana mosadziteteza ndiye singamuike mzimayi pachiopsezo cha moyo wake chifukwa ambuye anadalitsa kale pokhala ndi mimba.TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY BILL INE TOO SINDIKUGWIRIZANA NAYO. FOR MANKIND AND CHRISTIANITY SAKE LET US ACCEPT WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN US KAYA MIMBAYO INATENGEDWA PATCHIRE, POGWIRIRIDWA, PACHIBWENZI, MMASENGA KAPENA PABANJA ISUNGENI NDITHU NDIMPHATSO YANU YOCHOKERA KWA AMBUYE. ZILIBE KANTHU MOMWE MUNAPEZERA MPHATSOYO KOMA NDI AMAYI KAPENA ABAMBO A MUNTHU BASI.

  34. Truth says:

    Fire gonna burn all of those who kill un born babies. Abortion does not make u un pregnant it makes u mother of a dead child. God will judge accordingly

  35. Miss Nkhawa njee says:

    Termination of pregnant bill ndiye chani. Abortion should not be legalize in Malawi permanetely.Think about innocent babies who will be killed if you legalize this and think about yourself if your mother aborted you. GOD WILL PUNISH ALL WHO TERMINATE PREGNANCY AND THE ONE WHO HAS HAND IN IT. PLEASE CIVIC EDUCATE PEOPLE ON SAFER SEX AND UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES RATHER THAN THIS HELL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY KNOWN AS ABORTION.

  36. Español says:

    Choncho, kupha ana adzaloledwe aliyense kulipira dokotala (m’manja mwa lipoti)

  37. Thanduxolo says:

    Zambiri zibwerabe ndithu. Uku nkuyamba chabe. Tiyeni nazo!

  38. Charter says:

    I think there are valid cases in which abortion should be permitted such as some raised by the commission. While some view this as an opportunity to push in more, the commission need to think of the law-makers, the majority of whom are ultra-conservative on this matter. A bill that is too heavy is likely to be rejected by Parliament thereby denying the very opportunity to women whose lives are genuinely threatened by a pregnancy. The best is to change things incrementally. That said, the unborn is by all definitions a human being and their rights should be balanced with those of their mothers under the law.

  39. Mnunkhaludzu says:

    Why should we subject people to a faith that they do not belong to? This is what is worsening the rights of women…. Pregnancy is a choice and not restricted right to do. Revise this recommendation further to enable women seek better healthcare services

  40. ..... says:

    New Order DPP Manifesto.
    Kenaka tizamva kuti achita legalize homosexuality.
    Paja anagulitsa banki ya MSB asanatifunse.

  41. wodabwa says:

    In the near future everything will be legal everybody shall fight for their rights prostitutes thieves murderers chambasmokers all will produce their lifliterature to fight for their rights the world shall then become no longerbe a better place to live then the lord will come to save by grace those who denied the world and its laws amen

  42. Lusayo Mwanganya says:

    THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. LET US HAVE A REFERENDUM ON THIS ISSUE. WHO WERE CONSULTED???? WHO SAID THAT ALL MALAWIANS ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS????? THE BIBLE IS CLEAR, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”. WHY SHOULD ALL OF US BE A PART OF SOMETHING THAT IS SINFUL?? PLEASE CONSULT THE COMMON PEOPLE ON THIS ISSUE. THEY WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS — SEARCH ME… OUR GOD IS GREATER THAN MALAWI AND EVEN THE WHOLE WORLD… WHAT SHALL A MAN PROFIT IF HE GAINS THE WHOLE WORLD BUT LOOSES HIS OWN SOUL???

  43. zk-abc says:

    Poor malawi where are your roots? Where are you going? Pity for you. So you call it part of human rights? Ghoooooo! $£€

  44. MAPWEVUPWEVU says:

    USATANA WAYAMBAPO KUMALAWI KUFUFUZA KWAKE KUTI ATSIKANA AMBIRI AMACHOTSA MIMBA MMAXOOL A KUMUDZI KUDZERA KUDZITSAMBA AMBIRI AMWALIRA NAZO NDE MUKANGOVOMEREZA MA DOCTOR AKE AWA ACHINYENGOWA PALIBE KUYANG’ANA KUTI POTI ADZACHILE PADZAKHALA VUTO ADZINGOLANDILA ZAMMANJA NDIKUPEMPHA MULUNGU ALANGE ALIYENSE WALEMBA NALO REPORT LIMENELI DZIKO LATHU LISAYAMBE NALO ZA SATANIC ZANUZO

  45. man says:

    So what have you done here? Silly committee, mwangodya our tx money basi. There is nothing new you have come up with to address the problem of unsafe abortion! Mukuona ngati munthu azikapita ku police mkumakanena kuti anagwililidwa hence want to go hospital for abortion? Nonsense! The issue here is ; legalise fully or not! Osati the useless conditions you are articulating! A phoya, inu ndi a chipatala takhala tikuonera limodzi how expensive and demanding is to manage the unsafe abortions, and how signifant it is in causing maternal mortality! Do you think the MMR will improve?

  46. Tili Chenene says:

    We are heading towards destruction. How can the whole group of “learned” people spend our tax money only to agree to sin against The Creator?

  47. okey says:

    We knew this was coming and what comes next? Mathanyula.

Comments are closed.