This Act in itself has created manifold platforms for debate among many other things. Perhaps, this will sound like music in the ears of few women organizations to a very large extent.
And this is virtually having a reverberating effect on the overall impact of the country. The country seems to have disappeared in every sense; vast majority of the policy makers are perceived to be involved in what could best be describe as a selfish battle; neglecting the interest of those who voted them for adequate representation. Parliament is not a house of experts but House of Representatives which requires adequate consultation with the people on issues affecting them directly.
The most absurd fact is very worrisome; treating the electorates with contempt. This act underscores the need for a rethink in the country’s governance structure. The people who politicians consider to be expendables are the most indispensable. They form an integral part of the governance system in any democratic society like Sierra Leone, though arguably its democracy is brittle.
Many Sierra Leoneans especially parents do believe that the enactment of the 2015 Safe Abortion Act has adverse effect on the future of women and young girls. The enactment of the abortion law which awaits the President’s signature has been widely criticized by some 85% of the population. The disturbing fact is that no consultation was done with the people who gave them the mandate of representation.
The bill was a private member bill, but yet still the role of civil society activists to halt the passing was evidently absent.
However, this forthcoming law decriminalizes abortion; making it possible for persons under the age of 18 to have safe abortion under certain circumstances.
Meanwhile, well meaning women organizations have virtually denounced the bill while, a handful of women who are yet to emancipate themselves from parochial and naïve thinking are in support of the ratification.
The reasons proffered for the ratification of the bill are as good as rotten eggs.
Reverend Martha Chigozie, a female activist with strong biblical background denounced the bill from the onset in ensuring that hope is restored for the young and promising girls. She added: ‘This would duly affect the young girls, and the bible speaks out against it from the humble beginnings’.
There was mixed reaction when the bill was first tabled in parliament as almost all the parliamentarians who were in the house staged a protest and walkout of the Well.
How many people do understand the issues enshrined in the Act? Is the bill in the interest of the majority? Are the parliamentarians serving themselves or the people? The aforementioned questions need urgent and honest answers.