Malawi: Lawmaker Ngwale Urges Malawi Youth to Lobby MPs for Abortion Bill Support

28 September 2020

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Mathews Ngwale has challenged the youth in the country to lobby their members of Parliament to support the Termination of Pregnancy Bill also known as the Abortion Bill when it is tabled in Parliament.

Ngwale, who is expected to move the motion on the bill as a private member motion, said Malawi has lost a lot of young girls and women who could have lived if the laws had not been prohibitive.

"The youth should lobby their MPs to support the Termination of Pregnancy Bill," he said.

Ngwale maintains that ignorance is fuelling rejection of the Bill, admitting that even some legislators do not understand its contents.

He was speaking in Blantyre on Monday during events to commemorate the International Safe Abortion Day.

"We need to rise and say in future that 'I was one of those who stood up and prevented the deaths of girls and women in the country from unsafe abortion'," Ngwale said.

He, however, clarified that what is being brought to the National Assembly is not a new law but one that just expands the grounds of allowing a woman to seek an abortion.

Ngwale also dismissed the perception that the new law is legalizing abortion.

"Abortion shall remain illegal in the country but what is being done is only to expand the factors upon which safe abortion can be performed. The current law is pushing women into seeking an unsafe abortion," he said.

The proposed Bill is lobbying for the safe termination of pregnancy where it poses a threat to the life of a woman, or it as a result of incest or rape among others.

The current law only provides for termination of pregnancy where the life of a woman is in danger.

Ngwale has the support of various advocacy groups, including the Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (Copua)--a fierce campaigner of the proposed Bill.

Copua claims the country has a high prevalence of death from unsafe abortions, a thing that needs to be addressed.

But both Christianity and Islam - the country's biggest religions - are diametrically opposed to anything that challenges the sanctity of life.

Several faith groups have also spoken against the Bill. They include the General Assembly of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), and Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM).

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