Malawi: 'The Noes Have It' - Abortion Bill Misscarried As Malawi MPs Reject Its Tabling!

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11 March 2021

The much-awaited motion on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill was rejected by members of parliament on Thursday from being tabled in the House and it was removed from the revised Order Paper, an outline of business to be tackled in Parliament.

The motion to debate the bill was moved by Chitipa MP, Werani Chilenga who asked the House to allow Parliamentary Committee on Health chairperson Matthews Ngwale to table a motion to facilitate the tabling of the Termination of Pregnancy (Private Members') Bill.

But when First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madaliso Kazombo had put the question to the House, almost all MPs shouted "No" and the Deputy Speaker said "The Noes have it". Motion was rejected from being presented.

Mwanza Central legislator Nicholas Dausi said bill should not be allowed in the august House because it stands against the values of the society.

In his own submission, Dausi said "women should not be allowed to kill."

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said it is up to the opposition to handle the issue since the motion was coming from their side as Ngwale is Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chiradzulu West legislator.

Meanwhile, concerned youths gathered outside Parliament- a distance away from the entrance in support of the motion that will facilitate tabling of the bill.

Security officers refused the youths to stand at the entrance of the Parliament.

Chimwemwe Mlombwa from She Decides Malawi said she is "shocked and disappointed" that the 43 women in Parliament did not see the bills as a maternal health issue "as we are losing lives of women every single day."

The proposed law provides that in the case of rape, incest or defilement, the woman would first have to report the matter to police to be eligible for termination of the pregnancy.

Several faith groups have recently spoken against the Bill. They include the General Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Evangelical Association of Malawi, Public Affairs Committee and Muslim Association of Malawi.

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