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Pro-choice activists fight back

2020-07-20  Paheja Siririka

Pro-choice activists fight back
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Paheja Siririka

Proponents for the legalisation of safe abortion rallied in the capital on Saturday, with about 200 demonstrators marching from Katutura state hospital to Zoo Park in the CBD. 
Chanting ‘legalise abortion now’, ‘reproductive justice now’, “get your policies off my ovaries, the marchers were joined by among others revered medical doctor Helena Ndume who also called on authorities to legalise abortion due to health implications associated with unsafe practices.  
“When I did my rotation after coming from Germany, I noticed and saw mothers abandoning their children at hospitals’ entrance, wrapped in blankets with notes written ‘I don’t want the child anymore’. 
And having to take over the care of these children in the pediatric department was very sad.” Ndume also recalled an incident where a young mother bled profusely due to a backdoor abortion and succumbed to her injuries. 
“This is why I joined this march, because of the poor people in Ombili and Hakahana whose voices are not heard. To the parliamentarians who are saying these children could be president, what about the raped child, she can also be a president,” she lamented. 
She further said those in parliament have money and could afford to send their children to carry out safe abortions in countries such as South Africa where it is legal. 
“I want the government to legalise abortion, it is being done backdoor, and we have lost lives which could have been avoided. These abortions have further implications which can lead to stigma, especially when a woman cannot conceive, honestly speaking, these needs to be dealt with,” she said. 
Renowned activist Rosa Namises also backed calls to legalise abortion. “You don’t understand the burden that is given to us as women, when we have to take charge of a rape surviving child, you don’t understand what it means for my womb to carry that child. 
You don’t understand that sexual act from my uncle, father. You just don’t understand. You cannot make that choice for me,” said Namises. 
She added religious beliefs cannot stop the need to authorise abortion because it is happening backdoor already. 
“There is need for a legalised safe process right now so that young women’s lives can continue,” she stated. “I call on the legalising of abortion for the beauty of our young women. 
When that happens we, will not see children begging for food, we will see children being loved by their parents and that is the day we will not need DNA tests for maintenance, that is the day no baby dumping will be carried out.” 
The movement calling for the legalising of safe abortion was mobilised by a psychological counsellor Beauty Boois. 
The petition has garnered more than 60 000 signatures. In her petition, which has also divided opinions on social media platforms, Boois said Namibian women have been left with no choice but to break the law to practise their right of choice, in the process risking their lives and health as well as their wellbeing to obtain illegal abortions. –

2020-07-20  Paheja Siririka

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