LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow) –After rigorous and thorough consultations with traditional leaders and leading faith groups, the Malawi Law Commission (MLC) has proposed a legislation that opts for liberalized rather than restrictive abortion.
this was brought to light at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe Friday evening where Chairperson of the Special Law Commission on the Review of The Law on Abortion, Justice Esme Chombo presented a report of tentative findings and recommendations on the same.
Chombo conceded that induced termination of pregnancy is legally criminal as per the country’s constitution and that the recommendations in the report were restrictive to special cases and in the best interest of the pregnant woman and the fetus.
Said Chombo; “Termination of pregnancy except where it is performed to save the life of a pregnant woman is a criminal offence in Malawi.
“And in this regard, some commentators have faulted the restrictive law on abortion and the criminal sanctions that follow, as contributing factors to the problem of unsafe abortion in Malawi because women, for fear of the law, resort to clandestine and unsafe means in order to terminate unwanted pregnancies.”
According to recommendations in the report, abortion is still illegal, except where the continuation of the pregnancy either risks life of the pregnant woman or her unborn baby’s critical physical formation.
Chombo was, however, quick to point out that the fetus’s physical malformation should not be confused with physical disability giving an example of where the unborn has been depicted by a professional medical practitioner to have no head.
The MLC findings disclose that only women whose continuation with the pregnancy risks their physical or mental health and rape, incest or defilement victims qualify for the recommended medical or surgical abortion services.
Speaking earlier before Justice Chombo, Commissioner Gertrude Lynn Hiwa explained that the consultations were made with considerations to the feelings of both proponents and opponents of the same.
The findings and recommendations are due to be presented to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, where after, they will be presented to parliament as a bill to be passed into law.