EDITORIAL: Men lost in abortion discourse

20 October 2021 | Opinion

The abortion debate limped on yesterday, and perhaps recorded a major breakthrough when the ministry of health admitted that it’s time the country legalised the act.

Executive director Ben Nangombe coming out publicly to state this stance was a landmark milestone for the pro-choice brigade, which for years has bemoaned the draconian nature of the current legislation, which outlaws abortion.

The question that lingered on without answers is whether the proposed law would, even remotely, accommodate some aspiration of men who are a party to pregnancy.

In other words, will men have a “choice” too, especially in the event that they – just like women – do not want the baby?

We are not suggesting, even in the slightest terms possible, that men should have a say in whether their partners should abort or keep the baby. This should remain an exclusive province of the mother in whose uterus the baby is housed.

While this must be strictly the norm, we must interrogate various scenarios – including whether men too should enjoy the privilege of choice not to have a baby if their circumstances genuinely do not allow them to.

Apart from the health implications that women, as carriers of the foetus, may encounter to warrant abortion, almost every other factor can apply to men too. We do not have the answers and do not wish to problematise an already intricate situation. Let the debate rage on.

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