Malawi Civil Society Celebrates Landmark Abortion Ruling Anniversary

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Civil society organizations in Malawi are commemorating the anniversary of a landmark High Court ruling that clarified exceptions to the country’s abortion laws, providing essential protections for women’s and girls’ health and lives.

The ruling, issued on June 15, 2021, affirmed that mental and physical health are crucial components of preserving life in cases of risky pregnancies. It also provided legal clarity, enabling women seeking an abortion due to risks to their life or health to consult a health provider.

“We commend both the Judiciary and the Executive branches of the Government for making this important clarification public,” said Michael Kaiyatsa, Executive Director for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.

“Women and girls who believe their pregnancy poses a threat to their life or health have the legal right to consult a health provider.”

The ruling was hailed as a significant step forward in protecting reproductive rights in Malawi.

“The judgment marks a significant milestone in the advancement of reproductive rights in Malawi, ensuring that the health and lives of women and girls are prioritized,” said the civil society organizations in a joint statement.

The statement was endorsed by 18 civil society organizations, including Nyale Institute, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Center for Reproductive Rights (Kenya), and Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health and Right Alliance, among others.

The organizations reiterated their commitment to continue advocating for comprehensive reproductive health rights and ensuring that all women and girls in Malawi can access the healthcare they need without fear.

“As we celebrate this milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to continue advocating for comprehensive reproductive health rights and ensuring that all women and girls in Malawi can access the healthcare they need without fear,” said the statement.

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