African countries are trying to liberalize their abortion laws. Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ is making that difficult.
Activists say the policy has forced some countries to take a step backward
March 5, 2020
In 2016, churches in the small southeastern African country of Malawi did something surprising: They backed a law to expand abortion access.
At the time, Reverend Alex Benson Maulana, chair of the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), said that abortion was still a sin. But Malawi was also facing a crisis: In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 18 percent of those deaths were due to unsafe abortions.
U.S. President’s Global Gag Rule is Having Negative Impact on the Health of Malawians: Report
By Samira Sadeque
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 19 2020 (IPS) - A report released last week has detailed the complex ways in which President Donald Trump’s ‘Global Gag Rule’ (GGR), that blocks U.S. global health assistance to foreign non-governmental facilities providing abortion or abortion-related services, is affecting the population in Malawi, a country already hard hit with numerous climate change disasters.
The report, titled ‘A Powerful Force: U.S. Global Health Assistance and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Malawi’ was released on Feb. 10 by Washington, D.C.-based sexual and reproductive health rights organisation CHANGE, the Center for Health and Gender Equity.
'There are times when the whole country runs out of condoms'
Organisations around the world have been badly hit by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the so-called global gag rule. Here’s what’s happening in Malawi.
July 13, 2019
Charlotte Ryan reports from Malawi
ANGELA SOUZA CAREFULLY unwraps a large box of condoms, individually packaged in silver foil. There is no branding on each one, though the red-blue-and-white USAID sticker on the side of the box suggests their origin.
In this context, they appear as valuable as silver coins. Rodney Chalera, the programmes manager at the advocacy group where Angela also works in Lilongwe, Malawi, explains that there are times “when the whole country runs out of condoms”. Indeed, by the close of the afternoon, two women had asked for some for the road. Just in case.
Addressing stigma while moving a national campaign: Spotlight on Malawi
Posted June 4, 2019
by inroads Comms, with Andrew Mdala, Boniface Mbewe, Francis Makiya and Mackson Harawa
In this Spotlight, Mackson Harawa, Francis Makiya, Boniface Mbewe and Andrew Mdala, four inroads members, tell us more about the barriers or stigma that still need to be addressed in addition to fighting for legal reform in Malawi.
Although some liberal religious clerics and communities have given a nod to the need for a reform of the abortion law in Malawi, what are the many other socio-cultural obstacles that are yet to be combatted?
Boniface Mbewe (Chipembere Community Development Organization– CCDO): In Malawi there are still many socio-cultural obstacles hindering access to safe abortion services in health facilities. These obstacles include: condemnation emanating from cultural and religious beliefs as the person undergoing the abortion is perceived as sinner. For instance, some believe that abortion is an act carried out by non-believers, sex workers and promiscuous girls in the society; attitude, stigma and discrimination among health service providers towards the people seeking abortion or post-abortion care services also prevent women from seeking services; the legal implications associated with current laws around safe abortion do not necessitate the availability and accessibility of the services to those in need of them. The cost of abortion services and distance to get them (pre-and post-abortion services) are some of the challenge women are facing in Malawi.
Malawi: NGOs Build Capacity of Malawian Lawyers to Undertake Abortion Litigation
5 April 2019
By CSJ Reporter
Litigation is one strategy that can result in clarification of current vague abortion laws, which are perpetrating violation of women rights, a reproductive health champion has said.
Nyale Institute of Reproductive Rights executive director Godfrey Kangaude said this in eastern Malawi's resort town of Mangochi on March 29 when he opened a two-day training on public interest litigation for lawyers.
Abortion bill in Malawi gets a nod from religious leaders
Feb 24, 2019
by Emily Banda
As part of the burden of addressing unsafe abortions that are contributing to maternal deaths, Malawi needs to urgently review its archaic abortion law, liberal clerics have said.
The clerics are concerned that 439 women out of every 100,000 die in Malawi due to pregnant-related causes.
Malawi Government Considers Liberalizing Abortion Laws
November 09, 2018
Malawi's government is considering a proposal to liberalize the country's abortion laws. Currently, abortion is allowed only when a woman's life is in danger, and many pregnant women turn to risky, unsafe procedures to end unwanted pregnancies. However, the draft law faces stiff opposition from religious leaders who say abortion is a sin. Lameck Masina has the story from Blantyre.
How a Change in U.S. Abortion Policy Threatens Lives in Malawi
Hannah Evans, Population, Health, and Environment Specialist
Posted on November 9, 2018
“On average, in a day, sometimes we handle about ten women related to abortion cases,” Sylvester Zimba explains to a reporter from Vice News in August of 2017. Zimba is a nurse who specializes in post-abortion care at Kasungu District Hospital, a small clinic in rural Malawi and the sole medical facility for 600,000 people.
Zimba explains that many women come to the clinic claiming they have experienced a spontaneous abortion despite what a later examination usually reveals: informal, induced procedures generally referred to as “back alley abortions” commonly cause life-threatening complications for which professional medical attention is required.
Melania Trump's sunny message in Africa at odds with US policy
By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN
October 3, 2018
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN)First lady Melania Trump's solo swing through Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt should come as no surprise.
It has become something of a tradition for US first ladies.
In the 1990s, Hillary Clinton met with Nelson Mandela and toured his jail cell on Robben Island. Laura Bush traveled to Africa to visit HIV/AIDS programs. Michelle Obama, who focused more on domestic issues, still made it out to South Africa and Botswana on a solo tour.
Women are dying from backstreet abortions. But reforms to Malawi's 157-year-old laws are stuck
By Lameck Masina for CNN
Sep 25, 2018
Blantyre, Malawi — David Minyatso holds the voter registration card of his late wife, Selina.
The last time he saw her, she had just found out she was pregnant with their fourth child.
"She told me she was feeling symptoms of pregnancy. She left for her home village two days later to visit her parents," 36-year-old Minyatso said, standing in the doorway of their thatched-roof home in Kaseleka village, his daughters playing in the dirt yard outside.