In January 2016, the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights called for national laws on abortion to comply with its regional treaty agreements under the Maputo Protocol. In July 2016, the then new Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Malawi backed abortion law reform. and a report said that politicians, academics and civil society organisations were calling for speedy abortion law reform in the country because of the high rates of mortality and morbidity from … Continued
There are critical gaps in the provision of post-abortion care at all facilities that offer delivery services. In seven (70%) of ten countries, less than 10% of primary-level facilities could provide basic post-abortion care, and in eight (80%) of ten countries less than 40% of referral-level facilities could provide comprehensive post-abortion care. In no country could all referral facilities provide all the essential services that need to be included in basic post-abortion care.
In a hospital room in Thyolo, a southern Malawian town nestled in tea plantations, Ngellina Chikopa unwraps her sarong to reveal a long wound filled with pus. The cut stretches from her lower abdomen through her belly button and up past her stomach. The 18-year-old gave birth by caesarean section in April 2018, but the baby died of asphyxia after becoming stuck and suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen. While she was grieving, the wound became infected. … Continued
The Malawi Law Commission, following its review of the colonial abortion law, has proposed liberal changes which, if implemented, would expand access to safe abortion.
In May 2018, “Rachel” was a Standard 5 pregnant school drop-out. At the age of 15, she is already facing pregnancy complications befitting the age of her mother. It is over three months now since she walked into the maternity ward at Thyolo District Hospital to await her labour. When she arrived, the nurses told her that she would only deliver through caesarean section. The subsequent experience vindicated her fright. Fear haunts her. Discharge of … Continued
Women in Malawi should be given freedom to access sexual and reproductive health services without interference from the state and the church, said Brian Ligomeka, Executive Director, Centre for Solutions Journalism in an interview about the rejection of the former 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution. “Malawi as a nation needs to emulate what has happened in Ireland by reforming its abortion law. It is unacceptable for the state and religious denominations to be denying … Continued
Malawian gynaecologist Dr Chisali Mhango sheds light on abortion law history, misconceptions, fears and law reform process in Malawi. This is an excerpted version of the full article, which we highly recommend reading.
This history of advocacy and campaigning for abortion law reform by a coalition of NGOs and women’s groups in Malawi identifies the factors that helped generate political will to address unsafe abortion, and the consequences of an ongoing backlash against law reform from the international anti-choice movement and their appeal to religious and nationalist values.
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 … Continued
The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Malawi has now published the July 2015 report of the Special Law Commission on the Review of Abortion Laws and gazetted the long-awaited Termination of Pregnancy Bill which they recommended. These were both distributed in the last week of May to all members of Parliament, the Speaker of Parliament, libraries, universities, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice and the judiciary. The Bill will be sent … Continued