Namibia: Swartbooi Calls for Robust Abortion Talk

THE Landless People's Movement says the ongoing discussions about the legalisation of abortion must include other social issues to find solutions for the root cause of abortion.

LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi yesterday responded to questions about his party's position on the motion to legalise abortion in the country at a media event in Windhoek.

Swartbooi said he welcomes the motion on the topic of abortion, which was introduced to the National Assembly last week by Nudo parliamentarian Utjiua Muinjangue.

He said there were a number of issues to discuss and resolve before Namibia moves to legalise abortion.

Abortion is a consequence of "so many things that have gone wrong", he said.

He said issues to be discussed include society's structural problems leading to unwanted pregnancies, cultural and religious beliefs, health concerns and legal frameworks.

"You cannot deal with social problems at the point of the consequence of so many other things that have gone wrong. You will have to put the debate back and bring into perspective and address structural challenges and correct them, and therefore perhaps you may not need to reach the point of do we abort, or do we not abort. It's also a question of do we protect the secular state, because some of the arguments against abortion are very religiously rooted, but the state is secular, so how do we deal with that?" Swartbooi asked.

"There are also institutional changes that have to be made, but our problem will be that if the debate only focuses on abortion," he said.

The LPM leader said religious considerations should also be accommodated in the drive to legalise abortion.

When the root causes are addressed, Namibians may not even need to consider the legalisation of abortion, he said.

Other issues to discuss and resolve include unwanted sex and sex before marriage, Swartbooi said.

He said his party would discuss the issue at their policy conference later this year.

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