“Let the people decide”

“Let the people decide”

MASERU-BASOTHO will soon have their say on a proposed law that seeks to legalise abortion.
This, after MPs managed to make some headway in their negotiations with a group of church leaders who have been vehemently opposed to the legalisation of abortion.

The compromise was reached after a heated meeting Tuesday.
About 26 MPs were locked into the ferocious debate where the churches were also involved at this forum organised by the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS) in conjunction with the SADC Parliamentary Forum.
Chairman of Parliamentary Social Cluster, Fako Moshoeshoe, said it is important to talk about safe abortion so that girls and young women don’t resort to illicit clinics.

“Unsafe abortion is practised in Lesotho and lives are being lost,” Moshoeshoe said.
“This is the time to go the nation to talk about the issue of unsafe abortion and its dire consequences on the people,” he said.
“We are not saying girls should do the abortion. But we have to do what is practically possible.”
He told the forum that “there is no time to waste and we have to make a referendum regarding the abortion”.

“Let us not waste time and throw a question to the public,” Moshoeshoe said.
Another MP, ’Mathato Phafoli, seconded Moshoeshoe saying the question has to be taken to the public and the people should be told why abortion has to be legalised.
The Movement for Economic Change (MEC) deputy leader, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, said women are usually blamed for having abortions.

“The perpetrators usually show off with their money and entice small girls to sleep around with them in exchange for the money,” Tšita-Mosena said.
“We know these men who dabble in such practices as the MPs,” she said, adding that it is critical if their behaviour could be addressed with the same passion.
Tšita-Mosena told her fellow MPs that “you are afraid to address the root cause of the problem on the ground”.

“People are hiding behind Christianity when they have to address the problem at hand,” she said.
“We have to reapply the force. We should not only blame the girl but also the man.”
The Motimposo MP, Thabang Mafojane, said the issue of legalising abortion should be rushed to the community to get their opinions.

He said it is a sad scenario for him in his constituency to be always calling the police to come and investigate cases of abandoned babies.
He said if abortion is legalised, this could be minimised.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) MP, ’Maisaka Monyolo, said the public should be asked to decide if they want abortion legalised.
Monyolo said it is not easy for the public to understand this on time.
“There should be radio and TV programmes to teach the people about this,” Monyolo said.

’Makholu Moshoeshoe, the Senator, said Lesotho “being a Christian country, this debate should be taken to the churches to discuss”.
Reverend Maqebo Moshoeshoe said, “life is from God”.
“It is best to always choose a lesser evil. Abortion is like murdering a person,” Rev Moshoeshoe said.

He however agreed that the public should decide if they want abortion legalised.
“But we should not lead the people to do the abortion,” he said.
At the forum, young women in their late teens and early 20s argued that abortion should be legalised.

Majara Molupe

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