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Termination of Pregnancy Bill tabling aborted

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Werani Chilenga

Parliament Thursday shot down the tabling of the Abortion Bill, putting in jeopardy the future of the legislation.

Chitipa South Constituency lawmaker Werani Chilenga had moved a motion to allow Chiradzulu West parliamentarian Matthews Ngwale to table the bill, which sought to bring additional circumstances through which abortion services could be procured in the country.

Currently, the law only allows medical doctors to carry out an abortion when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

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The bill was, among other things, asking Parliament to authorise other circumstances for carrying out an abortion including on pregnancies that come as a result of rape and incest.

“That having noted that the Malawi Penal Code allows for the termination of a pregnancy only if the life of a mother is at risk, and observing that there are ever increasing numbers of justifiable situations for the termination of unwanted pregnancies which have not been covered by existing laws, this House grants leave to the Honourable Member for Chiradzulu West to introduce a Private Member’s Bill, Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which, when passed by this House, would expand grounds for safe abortion,” reads part of the motion for the bill.

But when the motion to table the bill was brought to the floor, lawmakers shouted a resounding no to the proposal to table it.

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Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said the House made a clear statement on the matter when it rejected the motion for tabling the bill.

“The bill has been coming to Parliament for the past eight months and today members of Parliament have overwhelmingly said they don’t even want to discuss it.

“The good thing is that even members of the opposition were in agreement that the bill should not be discussed,” Chimwendo Banda told reporters.

Mwanza Central legislator Nicholas Dausi hailed parliamentarians for shooting down the bill and preserving the sanctity of life.

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