Itula against abortion

Martin Endjala

The Independent Patriots for Change Leader, Panduleni Itula says that legalizing abortion could pose a danger to the nation as he opines that there hasn’t been adequate information to suggest why abortion should be legalized.

Itula said that based on the numerous contributions he has heard so far, he has not obtained enough information as to why abortion should be legalized, adding that more information is needed on the subject matter in order to make an informed decision.

Itula was speaking at a Public Hearing on Abortion held by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs in the Khomas region on Saturday.

The hearing was also attended by communities of the Tobias Hainyeko constituency, Moses Garoeb Constituency, Windhoek’s west and east constituencies who were also consulted on whether or not to legalize abortion.

According to the committee Chairperson Gotthard Kasuto, the Khomas region is the last region to be consulted after concluding consultations with the other 13 regions on the three petitions received by the National Assembly on the emotive issue of whether to legalize or not to legalize abortion in Namibia, as well as calls to liberalize or reform Namibia’s current Abortion and Sterilization Act No. 2 of 1975.

“I am talking as both a Lawyer with a Master’s degree in law and as a surgeon at the royal college of Surgeons with ample experience on arguments shared in other countries”, Itula said.

He argued that lawmakers need to be careful when voting to legalize abortion, adding “To say 90 percent are in agreement as an example is not valid. I am therefore concerned about the manner in which consultations are being conducted. There is a danger of parliament being misled due to a lack of adequate information and more information needs to be collected,”Itula said.

Itula believes that parliamentarians need to do justice by ensuring that all stakeholders are consulted in order to make a final ruling on the matter.

He further raised shortcomings in the 1975 abortion law, saying that it is not inherent to the woman but to doctors, which is another grey area of the act itself. He has since advised that the law be amended.

He also highlighted Chapter Six of the Namibian Constitution which stipulates that the right to life shall be protected and preserved.

Meanwhile, a community member who is against legalizing abortion said that legalizing abortion will not address the root cause of the problem, lamenting that the question of why abortion is being carried out boils down to parents, the government and society, who he says are “failing to do what they are supposed to do,”.

Another community member cited the lack of parents’ involvement in their children’s sexual lives as another factor driving young people to have abortions.

In assuring the public to find a lasting favourable outcome on the matter for all Namibians, the committee Chairperson Gotthard Kasuto reiterated that they will be engaging various experts on the subject matter under debate and urged all groups and the public to submit their input.

Kasuto informed the audience that it is a long process and more consultation will be conducted including the collection of data and other relevant information, as he concluded the discussions.

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