TORONTO, Apr 26 ( – Bernard M. Dickens, a professor in the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto, has written the Malawian consulate to urge the country to decriminalize abortion in the case of rape. In his April 18 letter Dickens, who is legal articles editor of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, says he is “shocked and dismayed” at the country’s pro-life policy which maintains that babies in the womb have the right-to-life even if conceived in rape.

Reacting to the prosecution of a woman who aborted her baby but claimed she was raped,  Dickens said, “the simple cruelty of such a prosecution violates basic instincts of compassion for victims of crime.” Ignoring the solid evidence that adding abortion to the violent experience of a rape victim actually causes more harm, Dickens describes abortion for the woman as “limiting the consequences of this outrage on her body, her life and her family.”

Prosecution of her action “shocks the conscience,” he added with misplaced compassion.  Apparently unwilling to accept that women can overcome the effects of rape and find healing through community support, compassion and grace, he said that “the legal prohibition of abortion following rape turns women’s victimization into life sentences that they are forced to serve.” Dickens charges that Malawi’s pro-life stance is “a violation of international human rights law,” and has offered his services to “defend” the woman in court.

Contact Information:

The Malawi consulate
H.E. Henry R. Chirwa, Acting High Commissioner,
Republic of Malawi
7 Clemow Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2A9
Tel: 613-236-8931
Fax: 613-236-1054

Prof. Dickens
[email protected]

(for the complete letter to the Malawi consulate email [email protected])


Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.