LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – The newly launched Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Association of Malawi (AOGM) has come strongly against the calls for Malawi government to hold referendum on legalization of safe abortion.The association’s stand on the matter comes barely few days after the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Nkhoma Synod through its Pastoral letter which strongly opposed any machinations by government to enact law to allow abortion describing the act as evil contrary to Christianity teachings.
CCAP Nkhoma Synod therefore proposed for holding of a referendum to ask Malawians themselves whether safe abortion law should be amended for better or remain illegal.
The church argues that direct abortion is never a morally tolerable option saying it’s always a grave act of violence against a woman and her child.
This so even when a woman does not see the truth because of the pressures she may be subject to, often by the child’s father, her parents or friend.
The congregation hinted that no any civilized nation allows a human being to intentionally take life of another person for social-economic gains without being punished.
But addressing a news conference on Wednesday in the capital Lilongwe after the launch of the association, Dr. Grace Chiudzu, AOGM’s Vice President came strongly against those calling for the referendum on legalization of safe abortion saying such a move was a detrimental to already volatile situation on mothers’ health.
Dr. Chiudzu said it was not proper for the nation to spend much money on a referendum when young girls and women were at the peak of dying due to complications that come with unsafe abortion.
“We are a converted group which looks for the conducive and productive laws which protect young girls and women from deaths due to unsafe abortion. We are the ones that feel the pinch of this challenge of unsafe abortion that comes along with. We receive numerous complication cases on unsafe abortion daily.
“We need to have a well-defined law that incorporates health practitioners and patients welfare to save lives. Government is spending a lot of money yearly to treat unsafe abortion (about US$ 1 million annually) which could have been used for other pressing health issues.
“No need for a referendum on safe abortion law legalization. What we need is to critically analyse the bill that it has to serve the intended purposes. Married and unmarried women, and young girls are dying due to unsafe abortion therefore we can’t wait to have this new law in place to arrest the situation,” said Dr. Chiudzu.
Earlier after the launch of the association which was established in 2009, Dr. Charles Mwasambo, Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health expressed gratitude of its formation saying it will help government efforts in promotion of safe motherhood in the country.
Dr. Mwasambo said government needed an independent oversight body on improvement of women and young people’s lives before and after delivery.
According to Professor Taulo, The association’s President, the grouping which has about 25 obstetricians and gynaechologists entails to improve the health of women in Malawi through maintenance of high ethical standards and promotion of excellence in clinical practice.
Malawi has high mortality rate in the region. This is attributed due to the archaic laws which impinge women and girls proper access to sexual reproductive health services such as safe abortion leading them to resort to unsafe abortion.
Current Malawi Ministry of health report shows that 70,000 women perform illegal abortion yearly with 17% of maternal mortality rate as a result of unsafe termination of pregnancy.
The 2015 Special Law Commission (SLC) resolved and agreed that abortion law in Malawi should be liberalized (that is, conditional relaxation of the restrictions) as opposed to decriminalization to cater for certain justifiable instances where termination of a pregnancy should be permissible.
When passed into a law, Malawi will be amongst African countries which have clear legal framework on termination of pregnancy including Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Ghana.