Malawi MPs told to review anti-abortion law

Members of the community from the area of Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka district have called upon members of parliament to review the anti abortion laws in the country.

The request was made during an advocacy meeting organized by Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) at Masongola in Zomba.

According to Group Village Headman Mkamwana, who attended the meeting, he is registering an increase of unsafe abortion cases in his area.

Some of the victims of unsafe abortion giving their testimony to the media.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

Mkamwana told the gathering that some of the contributing factors were men who flock to South Africa to seek greener pasture leaving behind their wives.

“These men spend more than 4 years while their wives are waiting for their return. Behind, their wives engage in extramarital affairs that sometimes lead to impregnation. When the wives hear that their husbands are returning home they rush to abort the pregnancies. Due to anti abortion laws, the women opt for traditional means of abortion that are usually not safe,” said Mkamwana.

The Group Village Headman gave an example of six women, who he alleged had aborted and suffered the consequences.

One woman, who opted for anonymity , said her husband left for South Africa in 2010 without bothering to communicate with her.

“After seeing that he was not calling or sending any message, l resorted to finding a relationship because l couldn’t manage to find money for food. After getting pregnant from this boyfriend that was when my husband decided to communicate to me that he was coming. I had no option but to go to a witchdoctor where l terminated the pregnancy,” she said.

She however, was quick to point out that she suffered a lot after the abortion.

“Some of the effects which l am struggling with up to now include failure of some of my organs and loss of clear vision,” she said.

She also revealed that most youths in the area opt for abortion due to lack of Youth Friendly Health services in their locality.

It was also revealed at the meeting that most of the women in the area do not use contraceptives, as that is against their religion.

The majority of the residents in Balaka are Muslims and they claim that Islam regards contraception as Halaam.

“Surprisingly, the same religion prohibits men from leaving their wives for more than four months, said the GVH, who is also a Muslim.

Member of Parliament for Machinga South East, Donex Mpuzeni, who graced the meeting, said advocacy on legal reform is a controversial issue which cannot happen overnight.

Mpuzeni, however, assured the community that he would brief his colleagues in parliament on the matter to map the way forward.

Malawi prohibits any form of abortion except where there is need to save the endangered life of the pregnant woman due to complications over the same.

However, YONECO has been implementing a project that has been raising awareness on the prevention of unsafe abortions in T/A Kalembo with funding from IPAS, a Zomba based finance.

Participants during the meeting.--Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
Group Village Headman Mkamwana wants anti-abortion laws scrapped.--Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
Kangaude discussing issues of Safe abortion with journalists.--Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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