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Opinion - Is abortion a human right?

2021-11-08  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Is abortion a human right?
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We live in a society where human rights are declared as fundamental by everyone. Indeed, human rights are declared as fundamental by law. 

Our constitution is built on the foundation of the respect for life and human dignity. It is thus not only ironic but so puzzling that some sections of our society are calling for the legalisation of abortion, all on the premise that it is a right and a personal choice. What we, however, fail to realise is that one’s rights end where the next person’s rights begin. We must realise that life begins at conception. One may argue that it is their right to abort and exterminate the life inside them. Such a life, however, also has a right, which cannot be infringed upon. It can, therefore, not be a right to take another life, whether it is still in the womb or not; such a life should also be protected by our laws. It is because we are cognisant of the fact that life is growing in the womb that we want to exterminate it through an act of abortion. What is growing in the womb is a life, and its existence and dignity is guaranteed and protected by our constitution.

Our constitution guaranties the right to life for every Namibian. This explains why Namibia does not have capital punishment because every human being is guaranteed life by the constitution. Article 6 of the Namibian constitution states that “the right to life shall be respected and protected. No law may prescribe death as a competent sentence. No court or tribunal shall have the power to impose a sentence of death upon any person. No executions shall take place in Namibia”. I want to make a submission that when you abort, you are taking away human life, something our constitution, as seen in Article 6, does not support. As can be seen above, our constitution says, “No law may prescribe death as a competent sentence”. 

A closer look at this statement should reveal that the recent calls for the legalisation of abortion are nothing but a fallacy. This is because any law which may legalise abortion will be tantamount to imposing a death sentence upon another human. We should, therefore, realise that it is not possible for parliament to enact a law which legalises abortion – taking away human life. Such a law will be null and void from inception because it will be unconstitutional. Our constitution declares that “the right to life shall be respected and protected”. 

Many constitutions have been changed or rewritten. Indeed, some may argue that even ours can be changed. We will, however, be putting a nail in Namibia’s coffin if we are to dare change Article 6 to accommodate the senseless calls for abortion. If the right to life is removed from our constitution, then our society as we know it will have come to an end. 

Indeed, many are clamouring for the legalisation of abortion. Perhaps such people lack knowledge and know-how when it comes to the document (constitution), which is the glue that holds our society together. Indeed, God the Almighty says in the book of Hosea, “my people shall perish for lack of knowledge”. As a nation, we need to acquaint ourselves with the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. 

Instead of standing up for things that add value to our society, some sections of our society stand up for things that don’t add value. The abortion demonstrations are like a blind man leading another blind man, a disastrous situation as both lack knowledge, and their path is thus doomed. Indeed, the great Julius Nyerere, former president of Tanzania, declared that “the future will be unkind to the uninformed”. Let us, therefore, inform ourselves on matters affecting our society and the laws which uphold the dignity of our nation.

Is abortion a rightful personal choice? This is a question which demands serious consideration. There is no denying that as human beings, we have the right to make personal choices. The question is, should every action, even if it is detrimental to our society, be allowed because it is someone’s personal choice? There was a recent report in the press of a father who senselessly killed his three-month-old child due to his uncertainty about paternity. 

This father made a choice to end a defenceless child’s life. It is a choice which cannot go unpunished and this man, who is clearly a danger to society, is rightfully behind bars. It is thus puzzling that as a society, we want to give a pathetic excuse about abortion being a rightful personal choice. 

There is no rightful personal choice in ending human life. We need to realise that as a pregnant woman, the life inside you has a right to live and it is human life, because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t want to abort it. Abortion protagonists will, however, want to rush and abort because they know that this life is growing, and within months it will come out to meet other society members. Who are we to deny this life such a fundamental right, a right enshrined in our great constitution? Indeed, when an abortion act is carried out, a human being’s life is cut from its very roots.

2021-11-08  Staff Reporter

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