Members of the public feel that women should be given the right to decide on their reproductive health. This sentiment was expressed during the public hearing of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs in the Zambezi Region collecting information on the public perception regarding abortion.
The National Council parliamentary committee hearings are led by the deputy chairperson of the house, Amilia Amupwa.
The standing committee is carrying out its last regional outreach on the consultative dialogues on the matter of whether to legalize abortion or to amend the current Act 2 of 1975 on Abortion.
After the public hearings, the committee will make recommendations to the National Assembly for the matter to be deliberated further and give direction as to whether to legalise abortion or amend the current law, outlawing abortion.
A civil society organization by the name Zambezi Girl Child, said that women should be able to make a choice whether to terminate a pregnancy or not. The organization also said that legalizing abortion will create an environment abortion is controlled and safe, further pointing out that many young women come from unprivileged homes that cannot afford abortion pills, leading to backstreet abortions.
“Many of young women face discrimination and stigmatization from the society. Emphasis on nurses and teachers using their cultural and religious norms to deprive young women from getting medical assistance due to fear of being judged and bombarded with questions, cannot be over emphasized,’’ the group motivated.
It further said that legalizing abortion will enable women to access the services freely and without fear of stigmatization.
Another civil society group expressing its take on the issue said that telling young people not to engage in sexual activities, encourages them to do so in an unsafe manner.
The group argued that there are things that cannot be policed, such as abortion.
Instead of restricting it, provide a platform of choices that will enable women to access reproductive health services freely and in a safe way, they argued.
A retired army general called on young people not to allow themselves to be emotionally carried away in the conversation.