Legalize Abortion in Namibia

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Thank you for your time and consideration on this pressing matter. It instills a deep sense of pride and faith in the Namibian government to know that the voices of Namibian citizens are heard and our problems considered open-mindedly. The purpose of this petition is to express a collective plea to legalize abortion in Namibia as well as to display, by way of petition, that thousands of Namibians, Namibian women in particular have a similar desire. As equal citizens of Namibia with Human Rights, we deserve to be heard and to practice autonomy over our own bodies.

 

I would like to start by quoting Honourable Dr. Hage Geingob when it comes to his views on legalizing abortion in Namibia. The President of the Namibian Nation said, “One day, we have to pass the law to legalise abortion. People are dying because they have to go to dark corners. So, whether it is legal or not, people are doing it,” when asked whether the government would consider legalizing abortion in Namibia (Geingob Tackles Abortion Issue Head On, Confidante, 21 November 2019). Not only are Namibian women left with no choice but to break the law in order to practice their right of choice, but they are also risking their lives, health, and wellbeing in order to obtain illegal abortions. This puts Namibian women at risk, due to the fact that about 500 women die every year because of illegal abortions, adding onto the threat against their wellbeing posed by other social issues such as Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Gender-Based Violence in the country; which are at alarmingly high rates.

 

President Geingob further stated that “We cannot deny it, it is happening. But it’s better to control it so that people can [access reproductive health services] legally, supervised and advised,” which is indicative of his support for the legalization of abortion in Namibia. In order for the Namibian Government to consider and truly prioritize legalising abortion in Namibia, civil society is required to start the dialogue and propose the call for the legalization of abortion in Namibia; which is the very purpose of this petition.

 

It is my opinion that the right to be able to access legal abortion in Namibia should be accompanied by education of matters relating to Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights as well as consent in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping and encourage safe, legal abortions in the Namibian nation. Counseling and Support Structures will also need to be implemented in order to empower Namibian women, who are considering or have undergone abortion with the necessary guidance and support to make well-informed decisions and freely practice rights and freedom of autonomy over our own bodies.

 

Human Rights Activist, Rosa Namises expressed enthusiasm about the legalization of abortion, in an interview with Confidante Newspaper in 2019, stating that women should have the right to control their own wombs and we are in agreement with her statement and share her enthusiasm on the matter.

 

Namibia is currently operating under the Abortion and Sterilization Act of South Africa (1975), which was developed during the apartheid era, which is an indication that the Act was never created for Namibians, by Namibians and in consideration of Namibian social issues as well as Namibian people in general.  We hope that a new Act can be developed for Namibians, by Namibians and that this petition results in the legalisation of abortion in Namibia so that Namibian women can take full ownership and practice autonomy over their own bodies. It is also our wish that the Namibian government ensures that women and young girls in Namibia realise their right to sexual and reproductive health, to have control over our health, lives and bodies, and to achieve gender equality.

 

SOURCES: SOURCES: Confidante, Geingob Tackles Abortion Issue Head On, Confidante, 21 November 2019, The Namibian, Editorial, 31 March 2017; Abortion Policies: A Global Review, Namibia, 2002.