Sierra Leone — The ratification by Members of Parliament the Private Members’ motion bill titled: ‘The Safe Abortion Act, 2015”, awaiting President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma’s signature has sparked controversy amongst Sierra Leoneans over the rationality of the Bill.
Some members of the public are arguing that more Sierra Leoneans are dying through unsafe abortion and imploring the Government to pass the bill into law.
A 2011 study carried out by IPAS and the Ministry of Health found that the Sierra Leone Government spends annually between $112,000 and $230,000 to treat post-abortion cases (carried out mostly by quacks).
The same study found that the government could save $121,000 if safe abortion was provided.
The Bill seeks to allow Sierra Leonean girls and women unimpeded access to what they labeled as ‘safe’ abortion.
“This is not a government initiated bill but a Private Members’ bill. I must say that I have also had representations, text messages and calls on the same issue and the Secretary to the President (SP) also presented a letter to me by a congressman from the US expressing similar views on the same matter. But we have always consulted with you on matters of national importance,” President Koroma told the gathering of religious leaders.
Others are arguing that passing the law will deny babies the right to life as well as against tradition and their faith.