Civil Servant and Religious Leader Gives Opposing Views on The Re-Proposed Abortion Bill to be Enacted in Sierra Leone

Representative from the United Council of Imams and the Inter Religious Council in Sierra Leone, Sheik Mohamed Zacaria Dumbuya debates with the Chair Person for the Peoples Alliance Reproductive Health Advocacy, Mr. Fodie Paul Kamara, on the Re-Proposed Bill on Safe Abortion to be enacted by the Parliament of Sierra Leone at the Epic Radio.

The Bill was first proposed as a campaign for safe abortion but  now re-proposed as a campaign for Safe Motherhood Reproductive Health to be enacted in sierra Leone, to give rights to pregnant women to be the ones to make the choice of keeping or aborting their pregnancies.

According to the religious leader, Sheik Mohamed Zacaria Dumbuya, the kind of risk and complication attach to abortion is too much. he said that if such act is endorsed it is like phylosophically saying it is good and an encouragement to support the act of abortion. ” i strongly disagree with endorsing such act, if abortion is endorsed it will open the door for more people to be engaged in it, killing innocent babies. so it is better for it not to be legalized” he says.

Responding to the sheikh, Mr. Fodie Paul Kamara, said that the reason for the iportance of this abortion  bill is because of the safety of mothers, teenage pregnancies and insests. ” when we look at the statistics from ministry of health, stats sl on sierra leone demographic health survey, you find out that we have high rate of internal death in maternity and the causes of those deaths was as a result of unsafe abortion,” he says.

He continued by giving the instances of cases wherein raped victims uses harmful and unsafe method of abortion. he said that some of these kids uses dangerous herbs, mix glue with chlorine and razor blade to abort their pregnancies. he furthered that this happens there is no mechanism put in place to support these kids to get safe abortion.

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The Moderator asked the sheikh if he doesn’t not think that safe abortion is a way to help and protect the lives of women?

Responding to the Moderator, the sheikh says when the intention is to take a life, how safe will it be. he added that if a pregnant woman is at risk, a specialist should be the one to tell that and decide on who to save. “the knowledge of religion and that of medicine is different, when it is decided medically we will then accept” he says. he furthered that since the government has no mechanism put in place, Islam has put mechanisms in place, so the government levied more punishment on rapists if they want to stop the unwanted pregnancies than killing innocent children.

MR. Kamara responds by asking that if they only punish the perpetrators what about the unwanted pregnancy and  how  would that woman live with such pregnancy.” we look at morality as father impregnates his daughter, there is no way we will correct it by beating or killing that man but the pregnancy will lead to life stigmatization for the family. we have seen women in sierra Leone beating their kids as if they want to kill them this happens as a result of forceful sexual penetration” he says. he asked his co-debater what he will do if his daughter is raped by his brother.

The sheikh responds that God Almighty is severe in punishment but is also merciful, so killing an innocent child will never erases the sin committed therefore it is only better for them to repent and allow the child to be born. he ended by saying that it is absolutely unacceptable to kill an innocent child and more dangerous to make abortion a law because rape, and abortion will be in the increase.

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