By Yohane Thomas
It is an undeniable fact that the bill of abortion is one of the bills of controversy. While some people are championing the tabling of this bill, others especially group of religious men are geared to do all they can within their capacity to make sure that legistrators must shoot down this bill once and for all.
In preamble, I would like to express my heartfelt feelings about this bill. I stand on my table thinking about this after listening to what many people say. I am convinced that this issue of abortion is the issue that must be dealt with utmost consideration.
I have asked myself heartbroken questions and allow me to ask you these questions now: If you and I were not given chance to live, would we be alive discussing this topic? Do we have power to destroy other people’s sacred rights of life which our constitution protects?
While it is within our constitution rights to have diversity of ideas on issue in democratic society, it is important that as country we must carefully and analytically deal with issues that has potential to affect us as a country.
The issue of this bill of abortion reminds all of us that though we have different opinions on matters of national importance, still it is important to discuss and reach compromise on what we want as a country.
From many people that I interviewed on this issue of abortion, many were quick to say that our current president cannot allow this bill to be tabled as he is a reverend. While this group of people were right to express that opinion, the sad fact is that they are completely wrong; because His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is the President of the country and so he is not at the helm to advance his religious beliefs but rather how best he can rule Malawi while defending the constitution which he took an oath to jealously protect and defend.
Dr. Chakwera is not a parliament and as a people-centre leader, he is there to rule the country within the dictates of the law as he has been advancing in his leadership philosophy, the polar SUPER HI-5. So my fellow citizens with this view, it absolutely misleading and not right to blame the president if the abortion bill will become a law. The truth is that this bill becomes a law if the country as a whole decides it to be so.
Secondly, there are some people who feel that the abortion bill is not appropriate therefore the bill should be rejected in its entirety. I honestly respect your opinion but the big question is why this bill is inappropriate? Through my thorough research, many people were arguing to say that the issue is immoral.
My humble question would be on what standard you basing this argument? I am more than willing to bring to your attention that the issue of morality is based on one’s culture.
Unfortunately, it is not hidden fact that culture is relative.
All what I am trying to say is that what is culturally right to certain group of people may not necessary that it is morally right to another group of people so is the question of morality. In this regard, the rejection of abortion bill on basis of morality is not only unvalid but also unsound. In the same manner, what is good for some Malawians will not definitely be good for other Malawians. However, democracy must come in to solve this issue.
As the matter of the principle, what the majority says is what is binding so if our lawmakers vote for this bill then this bill will become a law and will be in force and the opposite of this also stands to be absolute truth.
On the other hand, there is another section of people who argue that the abortion bill should be thrown out entirely because it tantamount to murder which is the grave sin against God. I totally agree that this is what the bible says. However, I took one minute reflecting on the same.
I finally realise that shooting this bill basing on religious point of view is very problematic. In the first place, it is undeniable fact that Malawi as a county is not a Christian country hence the constitution more authoritative than the bible.
I am a Christian just like you but should we reduce this abortion bill basing on religious perspective? If yes, then what will be reaction to those who are not Christians? People who do not believe bible cannot be contented to reject this bill based on religious grounds since doing so will definitely be transverse of justice on them.
This issue of rejecting this unpopular bill based on religious ground would be valid if Malawi was a Christian or Islamic country because in that instance the bible or Quran would be our constitution respectively. In Islamic world where Quran is the constitution, this bill of abortion cannot be introduced because doing so would be breaking the law enshrined in the constitution thereby constituting a crime.
Of course we can have various debates on when life begins and honestly we can come to terms that lives are destroyed through abortion. To those who are of the view that abortion should be legalized, I do challenge them to honestly answer me if they would around here debating on this matter if they were denied sacred right to life.
I strongly believe that they honest and heartfelt answer will undoubted help them to have their appropriate position on this bill. If they their guess is that they would not have been alive then they guess is as good as mine so it is not right to deprive right to life to innocent individuals who have committed no crime.
To those who are of the view that abortion bill should be legalized considering that they are women out there who were raped and forced to have babies they did not plan in the first place. Sadly, research indicates that unplanned pregnancies bring children who are in dire need of necessities of life.
Why should women be denied their rights to do what they please with their bodies? Is it real for women to suffer or lose their lives because of unborn babies? While these questions might sound horrible to you, I ask you to carefully examine them and see what you would if you were in the shoes of women. Would you be ready to suffer or lose life for unplanned pregnancies?
All in all, in democratic country like Malawi, having a diversity of ideas is a sign of maturity in democracy. We jealously fought for democracy and it is our sacred duty of us to jealously protect it. Let what majority of Malawians decides be followed because this is what we agreed as a nation by embracing a democracy.
It is totally misrepresentation of the material facts that we can choose to reject abortion bill by simply focusing on religious, moral, spiritual and cultural values. The absolute truth is that abortion bill will be legalized or rejected not basing on afro-mentioned grounds but on basis that majority of Malawians want.
Regardless of the outcome tabling of this bill, let all Malawians accept it without pointing fingers at anyone or blaming anyone because this is what we fought for in the name of democracy.