Written by  Kondwani Chinele

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Matthews Ngwale says there is need for a vigorous campaign from girls and women if Parliament is to discuss and pass the Abortion Law Reform Bill.

Ngwale: Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Ngwale: Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health

Ngwale said there has been a lot of talk on the Bill with little action for it to be pushed, deliberated and passed in Parliament.  


He said the Bill keeps on getting shot down because people do not know its contents and what it is all about.


“I am responsible for presenting the Bill in parliament. I know the problems in Parliament for the Bill not to go through. The problem is low publicity of the Bill at grass-roots level,” Ngwale noted in Chikwawa during activities to mark International Safe Abortion Day.


The Parliamentarian has since called on Non-Governmental Organizations to go back to the drawing board and ensure that there is enough campaign that educates people, especially women and girls about what the Bill is all about.


Reacting to Ngwale’s sentiments, Emma Kaliya Chairperson for Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) acknowledged that there is information gap regarding the Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

She disclosed that human rights organizations will come up with appropriate strategies on how to communicate with people on the Bill.


“We will use the youth to go to many places. We want people to talk to Members of Parliament on the importance of the Bill. We need to allay fears amongst people especially those being brainwashed that the abortion Bill is for evil people,” Kaliya said.

Ngwale was on the spotlight in March this year when he indicated that he would be tabling the Termination of Pregnancy Bill for deliberations in Parliament.

But the deliberations on the Bill was shot down.

Research by the College of Medicine and Guttmacher Institute in 2015 revealed that women and girls in Malawi induce over 141,000 abortions every year.


The same study also points out that Malawi has high rate on unintended pregnancies that mostly end in unsafe abortions.


Earlier, a study by the Ministry of Health in Malawi called ‘The magnitude and incidences of unsafe Abortion’ (2009) faulted the restrictive law on abortion and the criminal sanctions that follow as contributing factors to the problem of unsafe abortion in Malawi apparently because women, for fear of the law, resort to clandestine and unsafe means in order to terminate unwanted pregnancies.


The MoH study shows that about 750 000 women induced abortion in 2009, causing between six and 18 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths.


Currently, Malawi laws (Section243 of the Penal Code) provide for the termination of a pregnancy where it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

The law also limits this to surgical operation and not on demand.


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