Political parties in the country have endorsed abortion law reforms as Malawi Law Commission is considering a new bill liberalizing abortion.
Abortion is currently illegal in Malawi. It is punishable by a maximum of 14 years in jail except in cases where pregnancy threatens life of a woman.
Despite this, women still seek illegal abortion services.
Now the political parties DPP, MCP, UDF. PP, Aford, Umodzi Party, Petra and Mafunde have endorsed the Law Commission’s report on liberalising abortion., according to a communiqué they issued following their meeting in Mangochi from 21 to 22 August, 2015.
Releasing the report, Justice Esmie Chombo, chairperson of the Malawi Special Commission on Review of Abortion Law, said the new law would give women more decision-making power.
“We are extending the grounds on which abortion can be procured. If a woman is carrying a pregnancy but the doctor say ‘what you are going to give birth to, is a malfunctioned child that could not be compatible with life’ a women can decide ‘I will give birth or I can terminate the pregnancy,’” said Chombo.
The new law also allows for abortion in pregnancies that result from rape, incest, and defilement.
“We the political parties, having met and discussed problems of unsafe abortion, we fully support the process of enacting the proposed bill into law,” reads the communique.
The communique further read: ” We strongly encourage increased efforts on family planning and access to contraceptives at all levels in our society,”
The new bill is expected to be presented in parliament for deliberations.