Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights champion Brian Ligomeka has urged the government to enact the Termination of Pregnancy Bill as a matter of priority.
Ligomeka said in an interview on Wednesday wondered why the government which declared Covid 19 and cholera as health emergencies and crisis fail to do so on maternal mortality.
“The death of over 12,000 women and girls in Malawi due to pregnancy-related causes including unsafe abortions is a silent crisis because the government keeps mum on it,” he observed.
“The government ought to realise that women lives matter too. We cannot continue to pay a blind eye when women and girls are dying due to unsafe abortion,” said Ligomeka, who leads the Centre for Solutions Journalism, a human rights media organisation.
College of Medicine and Guttmacher Institute in 2015 showed that over 141,000 women and girls in Malawi induce abortions, most of them being unsafe ones due to restrictive law.
Government through the Law Commission has already drafted the Termination of Pregnancy Bill which the Ministry of Health is supposed to table in Parliament for enactment.
According to Ligomeka, it is a pity that survivors of sexual offences and minors are forced to either their graves or mandatory motherhood because of archaic colonial laws on abortion.
“How do you claim to be a democracy when women and girls are dying due to colonial laws framed in 1800s?” he quizzed, declaring that time for changing the laws is now.