A group of anti-abortion activists rallied in Windhoek yesterday against calls to legalise abortion.
The protesters voiced concerns against calls to legalise abortion, saying such demands are a mere distraction to critical social issues that require collective focus and commitment.
Pastor Haruna Goroh said given the current social and economic challenges the nation faces, focus should be diverted on working together to solve pertinent societal issues. "These challenges include, an economy in recession, the Covid-19 pandemic, gender-based violence, the brutal rape of women, especially our young people and senior citizens, poverty, retrenchments which lead to job losses, disease, alcohol and drug abuse and many other things," he said.
"The termination of life is more complex than just physical. The emotional scars lead to increases in the abuse of drugs, suicidal thoughts that lead to further attempts to harm oneself which eventually may lead to a vicious cycle of repeated abortions."
A fellow petitioner Karin Zimmer said permitting abortion is uncalled for.
"To allow babies to be killed legally, I mean where are we going to as a nation? Every baby in a mother's womb has got his/her DNA, they are their person. If anyone shoots another now, they will be arrested, so why should it be acceptable for a baby to be killed while medical terms are given and justified for such acts?"
She also advised a robust approach to thoroughly analyse and find out why abortion is taking place should be considered and she wants the church to take up that role.
"I would suggest the church creates a safe space for women to be educated concerning abortion because for so long, these things have been happening under the blankets. We must educate the community about abortion as we are about the virus, abortion does happen but there is no justification to abortion," she said.
Zelda van der Colff of the Pro-Life Namibia movement suggested alternatives to legalising abortion in a petition handed to parliament.
"Lobby for funding for Namibian orphanages to curb the problem of children living on the streets. Lobby for amendment on the adoption policy to streamline the current cumbersome adoption process," read the statement.
It further suggested the pushing of pregnancy centres to be established in all 14 regions in the country to assist young and new mothers through the pregnancy process.
The protest against legalising abortion comes after psychological counsellor Beauty Boois called for the legislation of abortion in a petition.
In her petition, which has also divided opinion on social media platforms, Boois said Namibian women have been left with no choice but to break the law to practise their right of choice, in the process risking their lives and health as well as their wellbeing to obtain illegal abortions.
Deputy health minister Esther Muinjangue, in her motivation last week in the National Assembly, motivated the motion on abortion in parliament, saying national leaders should allow for debates on the issue in order to weigh the pros and cons.
"Whether abortion is legal or not, the fact is young women and girls do backyard abortion which does not only affect them but has an impact on many systems of our society as well. My concern is more on the psychological effect on women. It is a well-known fact that women (young and old) flock to neighbouring countries, where abortion has been legalised, to do abortion," remarked Muinjangue.