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Consenting to sex isn’t consenting to a baby 

2021-10-01  Frieda Mukufa

Consenting to sex isn’t consenting to a baby 
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Often, the difficulty is understanding and grasping that consenting to sex is not consenting to a baby.

The 28th of September is World Safe Abortion Day, which is supposed to be a celebration for women to have full custody over their bodies. 

However, in Namibia, we still operate under the Abortion law of 1975.

As it stands, Namibia still operates under the Sterilisation and Abortion Act of 1975, which states that abortions can only be performed legally under three conditions: when the pregnancy could seriously threaten a woman’s life, or her physical or mental health would cause severe handicap to the child – or as the result of rape (which has to be proven), incest or other unlawful intercourse, such as with a woman with a permanent mental handicap. 

As if that is not enough, to qualify for an abortion under these circumstances, women would have to receive approval from two independent physicians, neither of whom could perform the actual procedure – and sometimes, the approval of a psychiatrist or a magistrate is necessary. 

As such, the debate of whether a woman or a girl can access an abortion leads to a debate on the rights of the woman versus the rights of the unborn foetus. 

These abortion conditions not only limit the freedom of bodily autonomy for women, who would want to have safe abortions because they do not want a child, but it also thrives in conservative traditional households, where young girls are raped by older men and the matter is swept away like it never happened.

The right to a safe abortion must be advanced and recognised universally across all communities, regions and countries globally. 

The right to bodily autonomy and integrity are non-negotiable aspects of advancing gender equality, racial equality and creating a world free from any kind of discrimination. 

As a progressive nation that wants to achieve equality for all in 2030, we should steer away from shaming women who would wish to terminate pregnancies they do not want to carry to full term. 

We should also be considerate and take note that not every woman or feminist is “anti-motherhood”. 

We understand there exists a large number of women who would appreciate being mothers. 

However, that desire should not infringe the freedom of choice for those who wish otherwise when it comes to motherhood, because the fundamental goal is to reiterate and support the right of a woman to basic self-determination over her body, life and her right to decide. 

Let’s not forget that many mothers seek abortions too.

Women understand the concept of people who are willing to take in unwanted babies; however, that is not the point for fighting for abortion to be legalised. 

If a woman wants to carry to full-term, then that it’s her choice; however, if she chooses otherwise, there should be no pressure towards her to carry a pregnancy to full term when she clearly is against it. There is a lot of traumata that comes with carrying an unwanted baby to full term. 


As much as we hate it, that is the reason why baby-dumping is very high in Namibia.

Thus, it is of paramount importance to advocate for the legalising of abortion beyond the apartheid rules that only cater to rape, endangered expecting mothers and those who have underlying medical conditions. 

It should transcend above and beyond to every other woman who does not want to bear a child at this time in her life and under these circumstances or ever. 

It should be a common right for every woman at any time.

• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.

2021-10-01  Frieda Mukufa

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