On 6 February, we sent out a news report that we discovered afterwards was untrue. In it, we had reported that Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM), a group of clinics providing sexual and reproductive health care services in Malawi, had decided to provide safe abortions in order to contribute to a reduction in unsafe abortion deaths and complications in Malawi. We based our story entirely on a news report of 1 February by Malawi 24. We are grateful to Godfrey Kangaude who immediately contacted BLM to ask if it was true, and was informed it was not, and a serious misinterpretation of a recent speech by the chair of the board of BLM. Godfrey then wrote to tell us. We cannot imagine how Malawi 24 could get this so wrong. We removed the report from our website and social media right way. We have apologised to BLM for the error and invited them to send us a statement to publish if they wish, to clarify what happened.
The International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion supports law reform around the world to decriminalise abortion and make universal access to safe abortion available. Deaths and complications from unsafe abortion are high in Malawi. Many in the government are aware of this, and they have come close more than once to voting on law reform, only to pull back in fear of the opposition. Thus, the report was believable, though unexpected. We so hoped that it was true that we didn’t check. We look forward to the day when all governments finally agree to prevent avoidable deaths in pregnant women and girls, reform their laws, and ensure the provision of safe maternity care as well as safe abortion services, so that these deaths are consigned to history.