With the demise of apartheid, the communities are realising that there are other issues confronting society. We are being swamped by ethical issues like pornography, homosexuality, gay marriages, gender-based violence and abortion. These are the issues that have been neglected and overlooked. The list is extensive. As a result of the abovementioned, people feel they are confronted by a deluge of moral decay.
Abortion in Namibia is restricted under the Abortion and Sterilization Act of South Africa (1975), which Namibia inherited at the time of independence from South Africa in March 1990. Under this Act a woman is allowed to procure abortion in cases of incest, rape or when the pregnancy is deemed a health risk to the life of the mother.
In 2015 the Ministry of Health and Social Services recorded 7,335 abortion cases between April and December. According to the record, only 138 of these were of a medical nature while the rest were non-medical or illegal street abortions. The Ministry also recorded 103 maternal deaths from April 2015 to November 2016 with abortion being one of the contributors. (Namibian, March 2017)
The then Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernhard Haufiku revealed that in March 2017 more than 7,100 women had been treated at public health facilities in one year for complications arising from suspected illegal abortions. He also stated that the situation was “completely out of control” and said that the numbers reflected only the tip of the iceberg, as many did not seek medical help. (Namibian, March 2017)
Recently, I noticed a newly placed advert, which captured my attention and at the same time I was also excited to observe the following verse: “Pain free Abortion.” Immediately I was reminded of the book by James Jones titled, ‘Falling into Grace.’ It is a conversation by an anonymous woman who had undergone the pain of abortion. She was convinced at the time that she had made the right choice. She said to have had the baby at that time would have meant the end of her dreams.
For the choice was between her dreams and that of the baby and she chose her dreams. After she woke up from the operation, she felt no physical pain, but deep inside she carried a deep pain which she could not explain. She felt guilty and struggled to forgive herself.
The pain is everywhere and it’s a reality and it’s part of life. Whereby the society has the responsibility to guide the humanity and protect their welfare. Jim Willis describes prophetic action by an illustration of a river. He says that when you stand next to the river and you notice a person being swept away by the water and you rescue her or him, that is an action. But if after rescuing the first one you notice the next one, then the next one and the next, you then send someone upstream to find out who is putting people into the river and you ask them to stop, and then that is prophetic action.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services in 2010 proposed a few measures to uplift the people from the drowning river of abortion.
Creation of community awareness of the health needs of young people, in particular sexual and reproductive needs through media and other channels;
Orientation of health workers about the special needs of adolescents including mental and social health problems;
Provision of information and counselling;
Promotion of parental involvement, involvement of community and other sectors;
Increase access to protective means against pregnancy, STI and HIV;
Treatment of STIs and common ailments;
Provision of adolescent-friendly services based on evidence with adequately trained staff;
Strengthening of school health services including regular examination of school population;
Follow-up of specific conditions/defects and promotion of school clubs.
Although the word “abortion” is not mentioned in the Holy Bible, there are numerous references to the issue of abortion. (Exodus 21:22-23) An abortion is against God’s commandments, e.g. “Thou shall not kill”. Therefore it is the responsibility of us all to put an end to this social evil and to lift up the people from the drowning river of abortion and from its pain.
• Reverend Jan Scholtz is a holder of a Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED) from Unisa. This article is written in his personal capacity.
2019-07-31 07:06:14 | 10 months ago