LIBERIA – Abortion care is healthcare
On 7 September 2023, in the ICWRSA newsletter, we summarised a 4 September report from the Liberian Observer that a revised version of the Public Healthcare Law had been passed in the national House of Representatives in 2022 and was being debated in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority was needed for it to pass.
On 30 November 2023, a report in the Liberian Observer stated that this reform bill was still being debated in the country’s Senate. The article presented a strong case for the reform, which aims to ensure the protection of women’s right to choose and to make informed decisions on their health care, and be able to access a good quality of care, given the high numbers of serious complications and deaths in the country due to illegal and dangerous abortion methods. The article did not report why the debate was taking so long, nor what the opposition to law reform consisted of, nor who is opposed to it.
A 7 November 2023 opinion piece in a publication The New Dawn, which describes itself as “Truly Independent” answers that question. It quotes a so-called International Justice Group, which it describes as a US-based lobby group, who claim the bill is bad for Liberians and that there is bribery going on to influence and corrupt the decision-making process in the Liberian legislature and executive branch of government. [However, a search on Google did not turn up any International Justice Group, nor one based in the USA nor anywhere else.]
What follows in that article is a rant about “the law adopted by the House principally intends to provide ‘sexuality education’ to the youths and children of Liberia to indoctrinate them into the gay, homosexuality and lesbian lifestyle, and encourage them to pursue sex change as a right to sex and gender change from man to woman and from woman to man in pursuit of the homosexuality, transgenderism, LGBTQ and same-sex marriage agenda in the country”. It calls abortion “a socially immoral and culturally repugnant and religiously reprehensible issue in Liberia” and a “societal plague”. It also claims that “Sweden, European Countries, and others around the world are spending millions in bribes through their agents in Liberia to bribe members of the Liberian Legislature and President Weah to pass the bill into law.” And so on and on…
SOURCES: Liberian Observer, by Siatta Scott Johnson, 30 November 2023 ; The New Dawn, 7 November 2023 ; Policy Brief: Liberia, COVER: by FEMNET, September 2022