ZOMBA-- Members of the community from the area of Traditional Authority Kalembo in Balaka district have called upon members of parliament to review the anti abortion laws in the country.
The request was made during an advocacy meeting organized by Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) at Masongola in the former Malawi capital, Zomba.
During the meeting, Group Village Headman Mkamwana said his area has seen an increase in the number of unsafe abortions.
Mkamwana told the gathering that some of the contributing factors were men who leave to look for jobs in South Africa leaving behind their wives.
“These men spend more than 4 years while their wives are waiting for their return. Behind, their wives engage in extramarital affairs that sometimes lead to impregnation. When the wives hear that their husbands are returning home they rush to abort the pregnancies. Due to anti abortion laws, the women opt for traditional means of abortion that are usually not safe,” said Mkamwana.
The Group Village Headman gave an example of six women, whom he alleged had aborted and their health was affected.
One woman, who opted for anonymity, told Malawi News Agency that her husband left for South Africa in 2010 without bothering to communicate with her.
“After seeing that he was not calling or sending any message, l [found] a relationship… to find money for food. After getting pregnant…that was when my husband decided to communicate to me that he was coming. I had no option but to go to a witchdoctor where l terminated the pregnancy,” she said.
The woman has medical problems which she thinks were caused by her unsafe abortion.
“Some of the effects which l am struggling with up to now include failure of some of my organs and loss of clear vision,” she said.
She also revealed that pregnant teenagers opt for abortion due to lack of Youth Friendly Health services in their locality.
What about contraception?
Islam is the dominant religion in Balaka. People say they can’t use contraceptives because their religion doesn’t allow it.
But GVH Mkamwana sees a double standard.
“Surprisingly, the same religion prohibits men from leaving their wives for more than four months,” Mkamwana, who is also Muslim, said.
Member of Parliament for Machinga South East, Donex Mpuzeni, told the meeting the issues of abortion is a tough one in the country. He however assured the community he would raise the issue with fellow lawmakers to what they could come up with.
Malawi doesn’t allow abortion expect in cases where the life of the mother is at risk.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t safe abortions in the country. Some family planning non-governmental organisations provide them but they aren’t available in all localities.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.