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Patricia Kaliati says no to abortion

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Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Patricia Kaliati, has been the first cabinet minister to openly speak against calls to legalise abortion in the country.

Her sentiments come barely a week following a Citizens’ March which was organised by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) in all the districts across the country.

The petition was delivered before Parliament through the Chairperson of Health Affairs Committee of Parliament, Juliana Lunguzi.

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According to Kaliati, her sentiments are out of her conscience as a Catholic declaring that she would vote against the bill if tabled in Parliament. Apart from Kaliati, the other lawmakers who have openly spoken against abortion are Lunguzi and Balaka North MP, Lucius Banda. They are all Catholics.

Kaliati spoke at Chikwawa Cathedral on Thursday when she officially opened the 38th Annual General Meeting for Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) which has attracted participants from all the eight dioceses of the Catholic Church.

“As women, we are the salt and light of the nation and the church. Against this background, we must make sure that we bring light to the nation and that our conduct should be of goodwill as the salt of the world. Let us say no to abortion as advised by our bishops,” Kaliati said.

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She said Catholic women should strive to be role models and always be exemplary in all their undertakings hence should strive to care for children including the unborn and their families.

“Let’s not be in the forefront in advocating for abortion. Let’s say no to abortion. As Catholic Members of Parliament, we will respect the social teachings [of the Church],” she said.

In an interview later, Kaliati maintained her position saying she was a Catholic before she became a politician or got married, therefore, she would respect the values of her church.

“Yes, I mean it as a Catholic. It’s Catholicism first and the rest come second,” she said.

She also took an opportunity during the function to call upon Catholic women to remain united and refrain from harmful cultural practices and fight against early marriages.

Bishop Peter Musikuwa of Chikwawa Diocese said women are very crucial in every society because they are the cradle of humanity.

“We all come from a woman. Be it a politician, bishop or priest. Therefore, we must take into consideration that women are so blessed before God and as such we must value them,” he said.

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