Efraim Ndalipo Paulus
The Namibian Constitution is heralded worldwide to be a very good constitution. Our management of the Covid-19 situation in Namibia has been acknowledged to be outstanding. Namibia has the best roads in Africa, we rank top on press freedom in Africa. Clearly Namibia always has a secret ingredient in addressing common issues. Perhaps this is our opportunity to use our secret ingredient in addressing the abortion issue.
On the Namibian scene I want to condemn those that are against the legalisation of abortion; such a position is selfish and one-dimensional. Above that I would like to call out those that are calling for the legalisation of abortion without modification. Those are copycatted tendencies and should not be tolerated in our society; we need Namibian solutions for Namibian problems.
Give us another opportunity for the world to affirm in admiration our abortion policy. Now it is a well-known fact that the world is divided in two on this issue, one is either pro-life or pro-choice. How can Namibia manoeuvre around this and ensure that we have a unique solution? Discussions on the pros and cons of legalising abortion have been exhausted and we can all agree that both options have negative and positive outcomes and that on both ends the benefits do not necessarily outweigh the demerits. I therefore propose what I term a facilitated abortion policy.
The fundamental idea of this policy is that abortion is legal. However, one can only have an abortion provided they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the life of the mother or the baby is in danger if she keeps the baby. The couple can also have an abortion provided that they can prove that even though the life of the mother or the baby is not in immediate danger but if they kept the baby, they will not have the opportunity to live a healthy, purposeful and productive life. There must be evidence that the baby comes at the expense of the couple serving their country and making Namibia great! This should be done through a special agency which will also be running shelters for children whose mothers could not meet the criteria to have an abortion.
With this we are addressing the issue of choice; women have a choice when their circumstances justify the abortion. It also means that now there is a systematic way to take up children who need care; baby dumping will be a thing of the past. It further means that we give an opportunity to couples who cannot have children to adopt children through the shelter; doing away with the current difficult circumstances around adoption of children.
Such a policy encourages responsibility, meaning that people will now understand that they cannot just be reckless and want to take somebody’s life but they should be able to acknowledge their wrong choices. This policy will also deal with the stigma around abortion by slowly integrating it into our culture. In Namibia we will have what we call justified abortion, which addresses concerns of the critics of the traditional abortion but also legitimises the claims of the pro-choice advocates.