Health ministry supports legalisation of abortion

20 October 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]

Namibia's health ministry is urging government to legalise safe abortions in Namibia.
“It is the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ view that the current legislation on abortion is outdated and therefore needs to be reviewed and enact new legislation in order to address the realities on the ground,” executive director Ben Nangombe said on Tuesday.
He said the general consensus is that the apartheid-era abortion law “fits the criteria put in place by the Law Reform and Development Commission to identify and describe obsolete laws, specifically that it no longer serves an objective for which it was promulgated.”
Nangombe was speaking on the second day of the public hearings on abortion law reform before the parliamentary standing committee gender equality, social development and family affairs.
Namibian gynaecologist and obstetrician, Dr David Emvula, who testified as a clinician in his personal capacity, noted that while data is scarce, health authorities recorded the deaths of 14 women from abortion related complications in Namibia between April 2018 and March 2021.
He said despite Namibia’s restrictive law on abortion, “it is still happening, and we are losing women because of these complications from termination of pregnancy”.
He emphasised that World Health Organisation statistics have found that in countries where abortion is legal, unsafe abortions account for about 12 per 100 000 women. In countries where abortion services are restricted or banned, unsafe abortion rates are almost twice as high.
“When a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she will do it,” he said.

Choice
Nangombe listed a range of factors supporting the ministry’s stance on abortion reform, including the impact of unsafe abortions on public health, the rights to sexual and reproductive health of women, and protecting the lives of women.
Surveys indicate that unsafe abortions contribute to between 12% and 16% of maternal deaths and about 20% of obstetric complications are attributed to unsafe abortions in Namibia, he said.
Nangombe noted that the WHO has urged member states, including Namibia, to address unsafe abortions as a major public health issue. “For Namibia this highlights the need to review the current, rather archaic, legislation on abortion.”
Speaking extensively on the issue of autonomy and reproductive choices, Nangombe stressed that it is the “human right of women to control their fertility and sexuality free of coercion”, as per international conventions to which Namibia is a signatory.
Nangombe further emphasised that reproductive choices give women the right “to choose whether or not to reproduce, including the right to decide whether to carry or terminate an unwanted pregnancy and the right to choose their preferred method of family planning and contraception.”

Facts
Dr Emvula said international data shows that “criminalisation results in clandestine and unsafe abortions, dumping of babies and high mortality rates for poor and young women”.
On the other hand, the data shows that comprehensive family planning services, including access to safe abortions, have resulted in steep declines of pregnancy related deaths in countryies after abortion was legalised.
Statistics collected by Dr Emvula over a period of one month during September this year, of patients admitted with pregnancy related emergencies to Katutura State hospital, showed that more than 70% of patients presented with complaints related to miscarriages.
While few if any patients admit that their miscarriages are a result of unsafe abortions, Emvula highlighted the high costs of treatment.
“Treating complications of unsafe terminations is expensive. There is no doubt about it.”
Dr Emvula briefly spoke on the complex question of “when life begins”, noting that it is a subjective discussion and there is no consensus on the answer.
He noted however that in a clinical setting, the determination is made on “foetus viability”, which means that it “is the point in weeks, and weight, usually 500 grams, at which a baby can be resuscitated after it is born.”

Similar News

 

UNESCO member states accept Windhoek + 30 Declaration

1 week ago - 22 November 2021 | Local News

The Windhoek + 30 Declaration on Information as a Public Asset was adopted by the 193 member states last week during the 41st session of...

BIG wants grant for more Namibians

1 week ago - 21 November 2021 | Local News

Youth of Agtste Laan in Windhoek have demanded that government introduce the Basic Income Grant (BIG) for all Namibians between the age of 19 and...

CoW se boekhouding beroerd

1 week ago - 19 November 2021 | Local News

Ronelle Rademeyer - Die ouditeur-generaal, Junias Kandjeke, sê daar bestaan wesentlike onsekerheid oor Windhoek munisipaliteit (CoW) se solvensie in die toekoms.Hy wys in die ouditeursverslag...

GBV tackled with new agreement

1 week ago - 19 November 2021 | Local News

The US government and Namibia’s Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Services (MSYNS) launched a new program to provide better services to adolescent girls and...

Here’s how this 12-year-old earns pocket money

1 week ago - 18 November 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]“With the money I make through braiding hair, I buy clothes for myself. I also give some of the money to my mother...

NWR MD reacts to video

1 week ago - 16 November 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • Yolanda NelThe managing director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) responded to a video beingcirculated on social media of guests supposedly only being offered...

Own ‘baby saver box’ for Gobabis

2 weeks ago - 11 November 2021 | Local News

Gobabis • [email protected]’s second baby saving box in which women can leave their babies without fear of any persecution for which they cannot take care,...

Swapo bevraagteken aanstelling van Gobabis HUB

2 weeks ago - 11 November 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] Swapo-distrikskoördineerder vir die Omahekestreek het die wyse waarop die Gobabis-dorpsraad met die aanstelling van sy uitvoerende hoof (HUB) te werk gegaan het,...

'Lone Man' loses head, arms

2 weeks ago - 09 November 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] vandal broke off and stole the arms and head of the only urban “Lone Man” stone figure.After the owner saw the damage...

Christuskirche’s bronze plaque disappears

3 weeks ago - 08 November 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] Sunday, the National Heritage Council was still unaware that one of the most famous historic buildings in the country, which is visited...

Latest News

Kiddie Sport remains a hit

14 hours ago | Sports

Since 1992, Kiddie Sport has been introduced to most pre-primary and primary schools in the capital, which means that the programme has been taking place...

Big cheque for Autism Association

15 hours ago | Sports

The Nedbank for Autism Series has again shown spectators far and wide why it is one of the most influential sought after golfing events on...

Things to consider when buying...

15 hours ago | Agriculture

Windhoek • Hanks SaisaiCrop farming is an agricultural activity that involves the tilling or cultivation of the land to ensure its preparedness before a farmer...

16 completed projects handed over

1 day - 28 November 2021 | Environment

The Empower to Adapt: Creating Climate Change Resilient Livelihoods Through Community Based Natural Resource Management in Namibia (CBNRM EDA) Project officially handed over 16 completed...

The role of CSR as...

1 day - 28 November 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Marlize HornCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a broad term, but in essence it is the ownership that a company takes for its role...

Lifers make bid for early...

1 day - 28 November 2021 | Justice

Windhoek • [email protected] men sentenced to ultra-long imprisonments including life, are battling to be released on parole after serving more than half of their jail...

Munisipale bateregister uiteindelik in plek

4 days ago - 25 November 2021 | Government

Windhoek • [email protected] Windhoek munisipaliteit sê sy bateregister is voltooi ten spyte van kommer wat deur die kantoor van die ouditeur-generaal (OG) geopper is dat...

Osona area hit by veld...

4 days ago - 25 November 2021 | Disasters

Although the veld fires in the area surrounding Windhoek have calmed down recently, several major fires broke out countrywide yesterday. This image shows a fire...

Rolspelers vergader oor straatkinders

4 days ago - 25 November 2021 | Social Issues

Die ministerie in die presidensie verantwoordelik vir geslagsgelykheid, armoede-uitwissing en maatskaplike welsyn is die gasheer van ’n driedaagse slypskool om ’n oplossing te probeer vind...

Load More