Namibia has been independent for the past 30 years and in those 30 years, the debate about whether to legalize abortion on demand has been an ongoing occurrence. This time around I am hoping that the debate results in an actual change that improves the health, wellbeing, safety, and quality of life of Namibian Women.
Abortion rights are a Public Health issue, as well as a Reproductive Justice issue, and a Human Rights issue. It is on this basis that the debate about abortion law reform should be centered around the health and well-being of Namibian woman, the reproductive justice which encompasses the obligation that the state has to ensure that each and every Namibian woman has access to sexual health and reproductive rights and that those rights are respected and protected by the state. The debate should also be grounded on the basis that abortion rights are related to human rights as well as women’s rights in particular.
This means that members of parliament need to carefully scrutinize whether the current abortion law truly upholds, respects, protects, and promotes the human rights of Namibian women. I am urging every single Namibian member of parliament to make their arguments based on facts and to carefully scrutinize the current abortion law to be able to assess whether or not the current abortion law is in fact violating or resulting in the violation of the human rights of Namibian women.
It would indeed be a shame if we were to come to realize that abortion rights and full access to reproductive rights being denied to Namibian women, results in or creates a breeding ground for possible human rights violations, that is why I am pleading with members of parliament to prepare and research and scrutinize, from the perspective of women’s rights, human rights, the health and well-being of Namibian women, the right to life of Namibian women, the right to privacy of Namibian women and the right to be protected against discrimination as well as the body autonomy of Namibian women. Let us remember that Namibian women are human beings protected by human rights, which our great country and those who govern it, should be upholding, promoting, respecting, and protecting.
Article 1 of the Namibian Constitution proclaims that The Republic of Namibia is hereby established as a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. Namibia is a secular state, meaning that
Namibia (and those who govern it), does not and should not confer any privilege or favor on any particular religion, regardless of how many people follow that religion. It is for this reason that I am pleading with Namibian members of parliament to leave religious rhetoric out of the abortion law review debate, to leave religious rhetoric out of a debate that should be based on public health, human rights, women’s rights, and reproductive justice.
Lastly, I am also calling upon members of parliament to leave their personal opinions and personal morality standards out of the abortion law review debate. Let us remember that our leaders have been entrusted to serve Namibia and its people, as such, our leaders should look beyond their personal opinions and personal moral standards as they debate abortion law review.