Sierra Leone President Refuses to Sign Bill Legalizing Abortions

International   |   Conor Beck   |   Mar 17, 2016   |   1:41PM   |   Freetown, Sierra Leone

The president of Sierra Leone recently refused to sign a bill that would have legalized abortions before 12 weeks in the African country.

Previously, President Ernest Koroma refused to sign the bill and sent it back to parliament, thanks in part to efforts by religious leaders in the country, LifeNews reported.

The bill to legalize abortion in the West Africa country was passed by parliament in December 2015 with the help of U.S. based pro-abortion lobbyists, but was subsequently sent back by the president.

The Salone Monitor reports that President Koroma discussed the bill with the Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL), which “represent a huge constituency across the country.”

According to the report, the bill would allow women to have abortions up to 12 weeks for any reason and up to 24 weeks in cases of incest, rape and fetal impairment. Currently, the country protects unborn babies from abortion in all cases.

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The Constitutional Review Committee is now reviewing the bill, and considering whether to recommend adding it to the constitution. Deciding to do so would allow citizens to vote on the bill as a referendum, the report states.

Catholic Archbishop Tamba Charles spoke out against the law, saying: “No life can be destroyed on the basis of choice as life is sacred.  If they want to fight for the right of women, then let them be provided with the required medical facilities that will help reduce maternal mortality rate in the country.”