Namibia: Abortion Rivals Square Off … Church against pro-choice in heated audience
The abortion debate has once again been brought to the fore, as various groups lobbying for and against the practice have presented their arguments to a parliamentary committee.
The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs is holding four days of public hearings on petitions to legalize or maintain illegal abortion in Namibia.
“The consequences of the requested abortion is a wound to the soul; second, a wound to the body – and then there is a society that is also hurt. This lady who has an abortion is hurting us all too,” said François Louw of the Coalition of Churches yesterday.
He added that postabortion syndrome has long-term effects like denial, guilt, anxiety, fear depression, as well as drug and alcohol abuse – and that’s where these women must be protected.
“Very often these people now have a bad conscience about what they have done to their child – and when they look at the children they think about what theirs would have been and they try to suppress those feelings by using drugs. and alcohol, ”Louw said.
The coordinator of the pro-life movement in Namibia, Zelda van der Colf, said that the main focus of the group, among others, is on human rights, which is to be the voice of unborn children without a voice.
“Pro-life supporters are not giving their consent to planned parental abortion services and facilities. We will not remain silent,” van der Colf said.
She added: “Pro-life believes that human life begins at conception. Considering that abortion is the intentional murder of a living fetus, it is safe to say that abortion is an act or a form of murder, which should only be justified in a set of particular circumstances as a defense. “
The Voices for Choices and Rights Coalition (VCRC) presented its position in favor of liberalizing the abortion and sterilization law of 1975 by recommending that the Parliament of Namibia decriminalize access to safe abortion procedures by as a human right by repealing the law.
“The current law promotes state-determined procreation without due process by denying women, girls and gender non-conforming individuals the choice of when to start a family,” the lobby group said. ‘abortion.
The Voices for Choices and Rights Coalition (VCRC) is a national voice movement advocating for choices reflecting bodily autonomy and freedom from the structural violence of restrictive abortion laws.
They said this involved government interference with personal freedom and autonomy and penalized pregnant people for making their own reproductive health choices, in violation of Article 8. [Respect for Dignity] by prohibiting inhuman punishments.
“The courts have emphasized individual liberty and the protection of privacy, which includes bodily autonomy. We recommend that the Parliament of the Republic of Namibia decriminalize access to safe abortion procedures as a human right by repealing the 1975 Abortion and Sterilization Act, ”said Representative Ndiilo Nthengwe.
They described several actions expected from the executive branch of the country, including: replacing the 1975 Abortion and Sterilization Act (RSA) with a new law on voluntary termination of pregnancy and sterilization; free abortion services and the right to terminate a pregnancy for up to 28 weeks.
The final round of the decades-long emotional debate comes after Deputy Health Minister Esther Muinjangue, in the National Assembly in June last year, motivated the abortion motion in parliament, claiming leaders national authorities should allow debates on the issue to weigh the pros and cons.
“Whether abortion is legal or not, the point is that young women and girls perform abortion in the garden, which not only affects them, but also impacts many systems in our society. My concern is more about the psychological effect on women. It is a well-known fact that women (young and old) flock to neighboring countries, where abortion has been legalized, to have an abortion, ”Muinjangue noted.