Evangelical Pastors Alliance has threatened to hold demonstrations if Parliament will pass a bill that would allow abortion in cases of rape and incest, saying they will persuade President Lazarus Chakwera not to assent the piece of legislation into law.
Reverend Vincent Chiesa of Blantyre Baptist Church and Bishop Gift Chaura of Evangelical Pastors Alliance asked the National Assembly not to discuss the bill, which is expected to be presented during the current sitting of parliament.
“We ask members of parliament not to pass this bill but if they don’t listen to what we are saying, we will call for demonstrations asking President Chakwera (a former evangelical preacher) not to assent to the bill,” said Chiesa.
Abortion – the termination of pregnancy -is currently illegal in Malawi and punishable by a maximum of 14 years in prison except in cases where pregnancy threatens the life of a woman.
Proponents of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill say the restriction is forcing women to seek illegal abortion services mostly from untrained personnel.
“Abortion is morally wrong because of their belief that human life begins at conception. Abortion is wrong in every circumstance and a nation that kills its children is a nation without hope,” Bishop Chaura said.
He added: “For Christians, human life is sacred and is a gift from God which is to be respected and protected. The Bible teaches that human beings are created in the image of God. It also teaches that murder is forbidden.”
Meanwhile, a pro-life Religious Network for Choice, a religious group that promotes freedoms and human rights, has come out in the open to support the abortion bill.
Speaking at a news conference in Blantyre, general-secretary for the network Reverend Cliff Nyekanyeka called on government to exercise its obligations of protecting lives of women and girls in the country.
Nyekanyeka highlighted that the implementation of the Bill will save women and girls from unnecessary deaths caused by unsafe Abortion and other causes.
He called upon members of Parliament to pass the Bill when it is tabled in the August House.
The lawmakers are expected to debate the bill before the current sitting of parliament ends on October 23.
In 2016, a group of anti-abortion activists led by the Catholic Church marched to parliament to stop lawmakers from discussing the legislation.
The chairperson for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, His Grace Archbishop Thomas Msusa has also warned that government should not champion the Termination of Pregnancy Bill though coming as a private-member’s motion, saying abortion promotes killings.
Msusa has warned that the Catholic Church and others will take to the streets as they did in 2016 “or another way of doing things, until what God calls us for, should be listened.”
But the pro-choice r network has since criticised other religious groupings for being hypocritical and deliberately misinforming the nation on the contents of the Bill.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :