By Francis Emorut
THE Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, supports the legalisation of abortion.
Kadaga was responding to calls by women lawyers who said abortion should be legalised as demanded by the Maputo Protocol.
The protocol says: â€œState parties shall take all appropriate measures to protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or foetus.â€
Prof. Sylivia Tamale from Makerere University said many women were unnecessarily dying because of unsafe abortions.
â€œIf the Government is committed to preserving the lives of pregnant women, it should legalise abortion,â€ Tamale told women lawyers on Friday at Metropole Hotel in Kampala.
Grace Maingi-Kimani, the deputy executive director of FIDA-Kenya, cautioned women lawyers on pushing their governments to legalise abortion without considering the views of religious leaders who are against it.
Kadaga said it was possible to lobby for the legalisation of abortion in Uganda in a similar way in which the Catholic Church and civil society in Mozambique mobilised the masses.
â€œThe civil society went to the Church and mobilised religious leaders to support the cause of abortion. So it is possible, I do not want us to close the door,â€ Kadaga said.
She said many women have been disabled and died while procuring unsafe abortions.
She appealed to FIDA-Uganda to present their concerns through reports to Parliament so as to generate debate.
Kadaga was closing a workshop organised by the Association of Women Lawyers aimed at designing new strategies for the association.
The workshop attracted over 30 women lawyers from South Africa, India, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.