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Religious leaders back abortion bill

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Religious leaders under the banner Religious Network for Choice (RNC) have criticised their fellow faith leaders who are opposing the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, saying the resistance is based on misunderstanding the legislation.

The bill, which is expected to be presented in Parliament soon, has increased conditions for which a woman can procure an abortion.

Some religious leaders have strongly spoken against the would-be law, saying it undermines the right to life of the unborn child.

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But addressing the press in Blantyre Tuesday, RNC chairperson, Reverend Martin Kalimbe, argued that religious leaders who are against the bill are showing double standards.

“We find it difficult to understand that the same religious mother bodies which took part in the taxpayer funded work, through which they came up with the findings and recommendations of the Special Law Commission report out of which the Termination of Pregnancy Bill was formulated, have found it convenient today to discredit the very work which they produced,” Kalimbe said.

He further criticised the individual faith leaders and religious mother bodies by saying that they are fond of portraying those that are supporting the bill as evil people who do not care about the unborn baby and its rights.

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Kalimbe concluded by saying that the RNC cares for both the unborn babies and the lives of women who die due to complications resulting from unsafe abortions.

Meanwhile, other faith leaders, under Evangelical Pastor’s Alliance, have declared that they will hold demonstrations if the ‘abortion’ bill passes.

Chairman of the alliance, Reverend Vincent Chiesa of Blantyre Baptist Church, said the pastors will hold demonstrations as a plea to President Lazarus Chakwera not to assent to the bill.

Different religious groups have spoken in support of or against the bill which has greatly divided Malawians.

In 2016, anti-abortion activists, who were led by some faith leaders, marched to Parliament to stop legislators from discussing the bill.

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