Malawi Parliament has rebuffed calls from pro-abortion activists in the country who have long been pushing the lawmakers to consider reviewing abortion laws which largely criminalizes abortion.
A grouping of pro-abortion activist in Malawi known as Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) has long been pushing for the review of the anti-abortion law which currently permits only pregnant women whose lives would be in danger to carry an abortion.
They claim that the old law contributes to the increasing number of maternal death as most of the women who seek abortion services from untrained people die from abortion related complications.
However, their meeting with the parliamentary committee of health on Tuesday thwarted their dreams of seeing the laws reviewed any time soon as they were told without compromise that their call cannot be heeded this time around.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje said the issue needs more consultations with chiefs, religious leaders and members of the general public.
“We know that Malawi is a God-fearing nation so there is need to consult religious leaders and many other stakeholders before we start to consider reviewing the laws on abortion,” said Chilenje
Chilenje also said there is need to ascertain if legalizing abortion will really reduce the maternal deaths because she said one major cause now is “long distances to the hospitals.”
However members of COPUA presented the matter to the parliament last Tuesday after four years of consultations and debates with all concerned stakeholders including religious leaders.
National Coordinator for COPUA Chrispin Sibade was baffled with the response from members of parliament saying the problem is that Malawi has no guidelines to determine how long should issues be debated before presented to parliament.
Local pro-abortionists have wondered why Malawi is still clinging to the legislation which they say was imposed on the country by colonialists.
They say Britain, America, Finland and Norway changed their abortion laws way back in 1960s saying the existing law is not helping Malawians because it doesn’t explain how people would access abortion services in public hospitals.
African countries that have so far liberalized or legalized abortion include Zambia, South Africa Ethiopia and Kenya.

News Reporter