MANERELA Calls for Honest Discussions on Termination of Pregnancy Bill

Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (MANERELA+) says consistent engagement and honest discussions concerning misunderstandings over the tabling of termination of pregnancy bill in parliament can assist to address the rising unsafe abortion cases in most parts of Malawi.

The organization’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Alexander Botomani told Zodiak on Saturday that they have already conducted meetings with some religious leaders, Chiefs and Members of Parliament in Mzimba, Dedza and Blantyre to hear their views on the matter.

“Members of Parliament know what is in the bill, so we want them to engage their people on the matter so that there should be a clear way forward on the matter,” said Botomani.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Blantyre Rural South West Kennedy Kachingwe has scheduled a constituency stakeholders meeting on November 24 this year to have a stand on whether to support the bill or not once tabled again in parliament in the near future.

“My area has about 36, 000 people. I want to consult the people to have a stand on whether to support the bill or not once tabled again in parliament,” said Kachingwe.

Group Villageman Mpingo under Somba area in Blantyre and Program Manager for Young Voices organisation, Emmanuel Namponya hope once passed into law, the bill will protect women and girls in the country.

This comes as cases of unsafe abortions are increasing with, for instance, Nsanje district hospital recording 113 unsafe abortion cases between June and September this year of which 42 were girls of ages between 13 and 24.

Under the current termination of pregnancy bill, a woman will be permitted to terminate pregnancy only in the following circumstances:

If the continued pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant mother, to prevent injury to the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman, there is severe malformation of the foetus so that it cannot survive after birth and the pregnancy is a result of rape, incest or defilement.

But there is however a strong resistance from other members of the clergy to have the bill tabled in Parliament.

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