Zambia Government Won’t Legalize Abortion Until Public Debates Idea

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Zambia Government Won’t Legalize Abortion Until Public Debates Idea Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24,

Ndola, Zambia ( — The government of Zambia on the continent of Africa has said it will not put forward any bill to legalize abortions there until after the public has a chance to debate the idea. The statement comes after pro-abortion groups have applied intense pressure to leaders of various African nations to reverse their pro-life laws.

Mike Mulongoti, a lead government spokesman said in a weekend interview that the government would not rush any bill to legalize abortions.

"We cannot make any recommendations on abortion now since medical and ethical experts are still debating," he said. "Let them continue debating. As Government we shall only come in at an appropriate time if need arises."

Should the public outcry for legalizing abortion be strong, the government would still have to get a bill passed through the nation’s Parliament, Mulongoti, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, told The Times of Zambia.

Meanwhile, Health Deputy Minister Lwipa Puma said in an interview that he opposes legalizing abortion and worries that it would promote unsafe sex in a region of the world decimated by the AIDS virus.

Dr. Puma said any debate on abortion should include religious and cultural leaders and said that abortions would still be unsafe whether they are legalized or not.

Abortion advocates have used the issue of illegal abortions and supposed deaths of women from those as a means to try to get abortions legalized.

The comments from the government leaders are important because leaders of ten African nations where abortions are illegal participated in a June conference where they called on their countries to allow abortions in order to reduce the number of cases of women dying from unsafe abortions.

Representatives from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia attended.

While reducing illegal abortion deaths is the prime motivation for legalizing abortion, leading researchers say proponents are relying on faulty numbers.

Dr. Randy O’Bannon, Education Director for National Right to Life, has said that the number of illegal abortions in developing countries is likely inflated.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization, 68,000 women die annually due to unsafe abortions.

"The precision implied in such numbers is highly misleading," O’Bannon says. He adds that such figures "are based on meager data and a lot of assumption-laden extrapolations."

Many of these countries do not maintain detailed birth or mortality records, much less abortion statistics, making even the roughest of estimates problematic," he explained.

WHO also relies on what is calls "public source data" to provide illegal abortion death guesses. Typically, a "public source" is a journal article, report, or unpublished document, often from a pro-abortion organization, raising questions about its objectivity.