The parliamentary standing committee on gender equality will resume with public hearings on the legalisation of abortion in Namibia in various communities.
The public hearings are a result of deputy health minister Utjiua Muinjangue, who tabled a motion to debate abortion in Namibia in the National Assembly in 2020.
At the time, Muinjangue asked the National Assembly to debate and discuss the issue of abortion with the aim of considering it with a sound and mature mind to make a decision that would benefit not only women but the Namibian nation as a
She argued regardless of whether abortion was legal or not, young women and girls do backyard terminations of pregnancies, which not only affect them but have an impact on other parts of society as well. Abortions can only be performed under strict medical supervision within the confines of the laws, which state that consent to abortion can only be given in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger.
Despite this, abortion and baby dumping continue unabated in Namibia.
In January, the Namibian police revealed that about 179 babies were dumped in Namibia in the past three years, either through abortion or concealment of birth.
The latest statistics provided by the police indicate that 63 illegal abortions were reported between 2019 and 2021, while 116 babies were dumped (concealment of birth) by their mothers in Namibia.
Oshana recorded the highest number of abortions with 11 cases.
The Khomas region recorded the highest number of baby dumping cases, with 21 cases followed by Erongo region, which recorded 19 cases.
In October 2021, the parliamentary standing committee on gender equality, social development and family affairs began with public hearings on abortion nationwide after petitions were received on the issue by the parliamentary standing committee.
In an interview with New Era on Monday, the chairperson for the parliamentary standing committee on gender equality, Gotthard Kasuto, confirmed the abortion resumption next month.
“We received petitions from those who want abortion legalised and others are saying it should not be legalised. We then decided to go and visit the regions to get views from communities. We are done with 11 regional visits last year already,” Kasuto updated.
The committee received three petitions: on abortion, gender-based violence and the legalisation of marijuana.
The committee is currently on a three-day working visit in Swakopmund to prepare for the petition on gender-based violence.
He said the remaining regions are Kavango West, Ohangwena and Khomas.
Kasuto refused to share any light on the views or feelings of the communities on the abortion petition.
“We couldn’t proceed to finish all the regions last year due to lack of resources and time. Once we complete all the 14 regions, then we will compile a report on the findings. It will then be tabled in the parliament for discussion,” he reasoned.
The public hearings on the remaining regions are expected to take place between 15 to 19 August, with Khomas scheduled to be conducted last.
Kasuto invites communities to come in large numbers and attend the hearings in their respective regions. – firstname.lastname@example.org