Religious leaders of Muslim and Christian faith are putting aside differences to unite against a Sierra Leone law that would legalize abortion until 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill to legalize abortion in the West Africa country was passed in December 2015 with the help of U.S. based pro-abortion lobbyists, but was not signed by President Ernest Bai Koroma due to pressure from religious leaders. The president has since sent the bill back to Parliament, triggering another round of intense debate on the bill, leaving those supporting and opposing the bill unsure of its future, according to Star Africa.
The Sierra Leone Inter-Religious Council organized a march to Parliament in the nation’s capital, Freetown, in protest of the bill this week, according to the BBC. The protest included hundreds of pro-life leaders from the African nation.
Bishop Archibald Cole, the head of the Pentecostal Churches in Sierra Leone, said in a statement, “The bill undermines fundamental cultural and religious values; it promotes the culture of death and makes individual choice and freedom more important than the moral imperative of human conscience.”
The Inter-Religious Council recently approved an Islamic position paper on the legislation that appeared in All Africa, which stated, “In Islam, ‘all life matters’. Killing an innocent human even in its early stages as in abortion is like killing the whole of mankind, and to save a single human even in its fetus or embryonic stage is like saving the life of the whole of mankind.”
It remains unclear if the bill will have a second chance, but religious leaders have been successful once at preventing it from becoming law and are continuing their vocal opposition to the bill.