Dirt Detective: Nkhoma Synod must stay away from state matters

A few days ago, Nkhoma Synod issued a statement opposing abortion legislation in Malawi claiming abortion, in the eyes of God, is wrong, evil, cruel, sinful and satanic.

The synod, which has more than two million members, further said it had the responsibility of fighting against everything bad for the multifaceted growth of the human being.

“To deliberately destroy an innocent human being at any point after conception is, in God’s eyes wrong… No civilized society permits one human being to intentionally harm or take the life of another human being without punishment, and abortion is no different,” read the synod statement in part.

But perhaps, what the synod forgot when issuing its statement is that Malawi is a secular state, which simply means that churches have no business with its legislation.

Kachipapa: Against abortion
Kachipapa: Against abortion

If a church is opposed to a practice, they are free to preach that to their followers. People come freely to the church and are free to go elsewhere if they do not like the stance of the church. But state matters are different. They are not optional, they are enforced on the whole population.

In Malawi, the government represents Presbyterians no more than Catholics, Muslims, evangelicals or secular humanists. One church has no business imposing its standards on other people.

However, the problem is deeper: this synod consists exclusively of men, and mostly old men. The people who need an abortion are women and mostly young women who are insignificantly represented in this Synod.

These men are stating moral standards, but their own church is full of immorality. I just want to direct it to that Friday scandal sheet, The Weekend Times, where readers come across story after story of the synod’s members violating the rights of girls and sometimes even boys.

But instead of cleaning up their own ranks, these men are busy trying to limit the rights of women by refusing them to decide what they feel is good for them.

Invariably research shows that the way to prevent abortion is not by making it illegal. That does drive abortion underground, and underground abortions are unsafe because chances of women dying are high. Are the men in Nkhoma Synod not interested in women’s lives?


To me the way to prevent abortions is early comprehensive sex education, including family planning. If Nkhoma Synod was interested in preventing abortions, it would have launched a program to that effect.

Countries with early comprehensive sex education in their primary and secondary school curricula, like Denmark and the Netherlands, have the lowest abortion rates in the world.

Additionally, adolescents with comprehensive sex education tend to start their sexual activity at a higher age on average than adolescents who have not had that. Their rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and AIDS is many times lower.

I believe this is the way to prevent abortions, and other problems. Any other way to fight abortion is ineffective and hypocritical, and looks more like fear of female sexuality than result oriented policy.

It is a fact that many women get unwanted pregnancies resulting in unwanted babies. Many do not have resources to raise children and they do not have the love needed to do so. As a result, such children grow up in poor conditions.

This is the very same reason why abortion must be legalized and encouraged for less misery on the part of children and less suffering for the parents while also slowing down of more births in this already overpopulated globe.

If we want to end it, we have to own up to the fact that it is a public problem and as such, each person’s duty to work toward a society where abortion becomes a non-issue.

Abortion should be legal because it is one’s choice and what grows inside a person’s body remains hers and to say the least, Nkhoma Synod’s approach on the matter is wrong and should think otherwise.

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