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Christians assemble in Malawi to protest proposed liberalization of the African country's abortion law.
Steve Weatherbe

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Malawi pro-life marches pressure gvmt into scrapping attempt to loosen abortion law: report

Steve Weatherbe

MALAWI, December 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—Thousands of pro-life Evangelicals and Catholics marched in cities across the central African country on Tuesday, forcing the government, according to one newspaper, to “capitulate” and abandon its plans to liberalize the abortion law.

The government, for its part, denied it had made any plans to change the law, which allows abortion in this nation of 17 million only when the life of the mother is at risk. However, a commission set up to consider the health impacts of illegal abortions reportedly recommended expanding the criteria to include unborn babies conceived in rape or incest, or are “fatally” deformed.

According to the headline earlier this month on the News Deeply website, the proposal “Angers Groups on Both Sides of the Debate.”

Chrispine Sibande, an advocate for abortion on demand, told the website that “from a human rights perspective, from a women’s rights perspective, and from a sexual rights perspective, this law is not good enough.”

Sibande cited reports that there are 71,000 abortions in Malawi yearly, most of them illegal, and 20,000 are “completely unsafe.” She cited another report that put the annual cost of treating illegal abortions at $500,000.

Sibande could be referring to the 2015 report “Costs of post-abortion care in public sector health facilities in Malawi: a cross-sectional survey,”  done by Ipas, the American-based abortion promotion organization. The report actually put the annual cost of “post-abortive care” at $314,000 annually. But if abortion were entirely legalized and the country’s health facilities were therefore tasked with performing these costly procedures, the overall savings would only be $60,000  annually.

Such studies are part of a foreign-led and financed campaign being repeated all over Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha of Culture of Life Africa told LifeSiteNews last year. “Right now, it is a concerted effort by a number of key organizations and governments aimed at the most vulnerable African countries. It is always the same technique. Go for the countries of east and southern Africa which are most liberal in matters of male-female sexual relations; produce inflated numbers about illegal abortion and resulting maternal mortality; use scare tactics to win over politicians.

Malawi’s Catholic bishops issued a strong protest earlier this year, accusing the government of caving in to foreign pressure. “The Government has bowed down to pressure from [the] donor community, international bodies and local human rights campaigners. As Pastors, we find this path very unfortunate. It is an act of betrayal on the part of those in power to sell our country to foreign practices and tendencies contrary to the will of God because of money.”

The Catholic influence in Tuesday’s marches was strong enough for the Maravi Post to headline its coverage with “Pressure from Catholic Church Forced Malawi Government to Capitulate on Abortion Bill.”

Reported the same news organization: “The demos paid immediate dividends as Government late today released the presser below: “Government wishes to dismiss categorically claims that there is an Abortion Bill ready for debate in the National Assembly. The truth of the matter is that the Law Commission has developed a Report and made recommendations to Government to adopt a new law on abortion.”

 

The same statement explained that the Cabinet had not yet considered the recommendations. “Therefore, any information that there is a Bill ready for debate in the National Assembly is misleading.”

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