‘Abortion threatens our existence,’ say Angolan bishops as country considers legalization

Angola’s Parliament is currently debating whether or not to allow abortion up to 16 weeks pregnancy.
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

November 15, 2013 ( – The Angolan Episcopal Conference is exhorting the country’s citizens of any or no faith to oppose a change in the current penal code that would decriminalize abortion.

''Abortion is a disregard for the fundamental values of Angolan society,” reads a recent statement from the country's Catholic bishops. “For any Angolan, regardless of religion, with or without the knowledge of the Gospel, life is always sacred. Therefore, any threat against life radically destabilizes our society."

"For this reason," the letter continues, "we believe that the possible decriminalization of abortion would be a real attack on national security and to our survival as a people.  In fact, as experts of demographic policy say, ‘procreation determines the future of nations.’" 

This past March, the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee made a recommendation urging the Angolan government to “take measures to combat various forms of discrimination faced by women,” such as “the criminalization of abortion (recommendation 13).”

Angola’s current law bans abortion except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk.

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The government responded to the UN with a letter welcoming the recommendation and pledging to change the law to allow abortion for “therapeutic reasons” and in cases of rape and incest.

Angola’s Parliament is currently debating whether or not to allow abortion up to 16 weeks pregnancy. 

The Republic’s Joint Attorney Mota Liz explained to the press that this didn’t mean “an absolute decriminalization of abortion.”

“There will be exclusions to illegality or justifications, abortions will occur in determined circumstances which are generally clinically advisable,” she said.

However, Monsignor Jose Manuel Imbamba, spokesman for the country’s Episcopal Conference and bishop of Saurimo, said the bishops find it “contradictory that in a very recent past we were overjoyed because our constitution had abolished death penalty, and now the legalization of the assassination of innocents appears on our nation’s horizon disguised with names like ‘decriminalization of abortion’ or ‘women’s reproductive rights.’” 

“We are under the impression that we easily forget our history of slave traffic, the sad conquest wars, the fratricide wars. All of this generated a culture of death that drastically depopulated our country. This should unite us in the defense and the promotion of life,” he declared.

The bishops concluded their message reminding Angolans that they have been “a Christian country for centuries. Therefore, it is expected that Parliament elected by a large majority of Christians and mainly composed of believers, fulfill the duty to respect the wishes of their voters." 

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