Nyale Institute, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to advance sexual and reproductive justice for all, believes that every person has the right to enjoy a happy sexual life, whether they have sex or not and whether they have sex to reproduce or just for pleasure.
Nyale Institute’s Executive Director, Dr Godfrey Kangaude, observed that while the public may focus on the decision to have an abortion by the woman, there is a great deal of hidden things behind any decision by the woman to abort a pregnancy.
The hidden things include that a man had sex with a girl or woman for his pleasure, but when it resulted in a pregnancy, the man refused or escaped responsibility.
In some cases, the man coerced the woman to terminate the pregnancy by any means to preserve the man’s honour as a married man, a respected pastor, or as someone who should not be known to have had sex with this girl or woman.
In worst-case scenarios, the man had forcible sex with the girl or woman without their consent.
Dr Kangaude said that justice requires that we look at the underlying issues behind girl’s and women’s need for abortion. Usually, the men behind t are invisible.
Justice requires that we do not treat the girl or woman too harshly by denying them access to safe abortion services, which the government and other stakeholders have the capacity to provide.
The only reason they withhold these services is because of an archaic law that prohibits girls and women from accessing safe abortion.
Dr Kangaude said that this is why they are supporting a 14-year-old to bring up this matter in the court, to ask the court whether a child who has been raped and becomes pregnant is eligible to access a safe and legal abortion in terms of Sections 19(1)(a) and 19(2) of the Gender Equality Act.
“This is not just a question of health for this girl”, said Dr Kangaude, adding: “It is a question of justice, and not justice for this girl only but for every girl in similar circumstances.
Finally, Dr Godfrey Kangaude wanted to make it clear that Nyale Institute does not under any circumstances promote or encourage abortion.
“Nyale Institute does not counsel anyone to have an abortion, because this is a decision for the girl or woman to make, or for the parents of the girl-child because they hold her best interests at heart.”
Nyale Institute advocates for a legal and policy environment in which every person has the right to enjoy sexual and reproductive health, in accordance with the obligations of the government under national and international law.