Enact Termination of Pregnancy law—Youth

Enact Termination of Pregnancy law—Youth

A group of youths has called on members of Parliament (MPs) to put aside their political, cultural, faith and personal biases and table the controversial Termination of Pregnancy Bill to save lives.

Speaking on Saturday at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) during a debate on safe abortion organised by the Malawi Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Alliance, the youth lamented increased cases of deaths among young women due to unsafe abortion.

Making her contribution, Luanar fourth-year student Kuunika Kamende said the prohibitive laws work against the poor youths who, in their quest to continue with their education, end up procuring unsafe abortions ,thereby putting their lives in danger.

Kapyepye: The youth must demand services

“We want our politicians to prioritise the needs of the people, table and pass this Bill and make safe abortions accessible to all,” she said.

Kamende further called for increased awareness on the use of contraceptives among the youth to prevent them from getting pregnant.

Under the Breaking the Barriers project, the Malawi SRHR Alliance seeks to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights, including safe abortion among young women and girls.

Malawi SRHR Alliance youth programme coordinator Gertrude Kapyepye said it was imperative that the youth .especially those in tertiary institutions understand SRHR issues so that they are able to demand the services.

In his remarks, Religious Leaders Network for Choice member Pastor Wongani Kumwenda said the nation is losing a lot of resources in post-abortion care.

Malawi Human Rights Resources Centre programmes officer Charles Gawani pledged to continue lobbying for the tabling of the Bill and enactment of the law.

The two-year project is being implemented in Blantyre, Zomba, Mzimba, Kasungu, Lilongwe and Chiradzulu as well as six universities in the country.

According to data compiled by Ipas Malawi, in 2022 alone, 3 395 women and girls induced unsafe abortions and sought treatment at post-abortion clinics in district health facilities.

In 2021, legislators unanimously rejected a motion to debate the long-delayed Termination of Pregnancy Bill which would have seen the liberalisation of the country’s strict law against abortion, which is only allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.

The bill, pushed by activists since 2015, seeks to expand legal abortion from cases where the mother’s life is at risk to include rape, incest, foetal deformity, and threats to health.

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