Taking a stand for freedom of choice
02 July 2020 | Local News
In an effort to save Namibian women who are losing their freedom due to the criminalisation of abortion, one Namibian is taking the stand to give them back their voices.
Beauty Boois, who started the Legalize Abortion in Namibia petition, says that one too many Namibian families are deprived of the opportunity to properly plan for the adequate financial, emotional and physical care of their children when contraceptives fail, are inaccessible or are in short supply.
“Namibian girls are robbed of their right to complete their education due to the high rate of teenage pregnancy, while women are unable to seek out healthcare for post-abortion care after a failed, unsafe, illegal abortion and thus suffer in silence,” she says.
“I started the petition because enough is enough. We deserve to live in a society where our sexual and reproductive health and rights are respected and protected. We deserve freedom of choice and autonomy over our bodies that empower us to make the best decisions for ourselves, our families and our futures,” Boois said.
However, she never thought she would get this much reaction. “But it was years and years of activism and groundwork that has been laid by brave Namibian activists and leaders like Rosa Namises, Bience Gawanas and Dr Libertine Amathila, as well as organisations who have been undertaking research and advocating for women’s rights in Namibia. I believe that all of their work and contributions are the reason that we are experiencing the current reaction that the petition has garnered.”
According to Boois, abortion rights are a public health issue, a reproductive justice issue, a women’s rights issue and a human rights issue. For her, it is imperative that Namibia ensures the health, wellbeing, safety and rights of Namibian citizens are upheld, respected and protected. “These types of discussions provide opportunities for empowerment through education and the creation of awareness of pertinent issues.”
She is of the opinion that people can’t claim to be pro-life and yet they don’t advocate for the lives of thousands of Namibian women who experience maternal death as a direct result of illegal abortion or don’t care about the psychological and social suffering that Namibian women experience through the denial of their rights, freedom of choice, bodily autonomy, disempowerment, and discrimination.
“People cannot claim to be pro-life, and yet they don’t advocate for or care for the lives of children born into poverty or homes where they are unwanted and not sufficiently cared for,” she said. She adds that being pro-choice is being pro-life because the pro-choice movement advocates for access to rights that boost gender equality, advocate for access to health services such as pre-abortion and post-abortion care and counselling, and advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as education.