POSITION STATEMENT FROM THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP EXTREME ABORTION IN LIBERIA UNDER THE FACILITATION OF CHURCH AID INC. (CAI), NWIDA CAMPUS, BREWERVILLE, MONTSERRADO COUNTY, READ BY BISHOP KORTU K. BROWN, AT THE PUBLIC DEBATE OF THE LIBERIAN SENATE ON THE REVISED PUBLIC HEALTH LAW OF LIBERIA, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2023.
The Honorable Liberian Senate:
- In the Name of the Most High God Who has Guided and Sustained our dear Country, Liberia from its foundation through two centuries of trials and triumphs, We, representing all shares of Liberia’s religious identities and experiences, we greet you and commend you for the invite to appear here today to share our thoughts on the ongoing debate by members of the Senate, regarding the Public Health Law of Liberia
- We are therefore here to ask that you to ensure that the abortion section including the component on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the Public Health Bill before the Liberian Senate is removed. We believe that CSE will sexualize our child, teach (children) as young as 6 years old to learn how to “ejaculate” and 2 or 3 years old will also learn how to masturbate. At 9 years old, the children will be given sex education to make conscious decisions about whether or not to have sexual experiences
- We want to make it very clear that when it comes to the protection of our religious, traditional and cultural values, this issue is of utmost importance to us. If the extreme abortion section in the Public Health Bill remains in the Bill and you vote in support of the Public Health Bill, we will consider you as voting contrary to the religious, traditional and cultural values of Liberia. That was why we established the online petition, StopLiberiaAbortionBill.com, to call the attention of our senators to our objection of the abortion and CSE portions of the Bill.
- Under our current law, abortion is allowed in exceptional circumstances – where the mother’s life is at risk, rape/incest/felonious intercourse, and disability of the fetus. These are rare situations. The extreme abortion section in the Public Health Bill will scrap our current law and replace it with an extreme law that allows abortion, for any reason, on demand, up to when the baby in the womb is at 14 weeks gestation. Unfortunately, the Liberian House of Representatives has endorsed the bill and passed it on to the Honorable House of Senate for concurrence.
- It may interest you to know, Honorable Senators that, in countries that allow abortion on demand, a very small percentage of abortions are performed for the extreme situations covered by our current law and over 95% happen on demand and under 14 weeks. So the proposed law would allow over 95% of abortions to happen.
- It has been estimated that this change from allowing abortion in exceptional circumstances to allowing abortion on demand would lead to the lives of up to 40,000 babies being lost to abortion in Liberia every single year.
- This is why we are asking you not to vote for the passage of the whole section on abortion and comprehensive sexuality education to enable you adequately engage the citizenry of Liberia, consult with the religious, traditional and cultural communities across the country, and if possible, defer the passage to the new Legislature for further consideration given the criticality of the issue.
- There is a field engagement ongoing at the moment following the conduct of a 3-day training and awareness workshop that brought together more the 30 field coordinators from 12 of the 15 counties of Liberia, from November 15-17, 2023 in Brewerville, Montserrado County. That session was addressed and facilitated by a former senior deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau of Global Health of USAID, Dr. Monique Wubbenhorst. Since the return of the field coordinators to their respective counties, one of the immediate feedbacks is that people are not aware of the current attempt to revise the abortion law and do not support it. Infact, a signature gathering process is being pursued for submission to this body
- Another concern from the field is the need for a strong Public health education program – which we think will address some of the concerns of the Ministry of Health about who and where abortions should take place. Is there any such thing as safe abortion? Doesn’t abortion kills a baby? Is not associated with harms to the mother including infection, perforation, preterm birth, even in developed countries? If we allow abortion only at certain health centers, who will pay for it, the pregnant woman or the government of Liberia? Do we have the facilities to minimize injuries and mortalities? Is an unborn a human? Is abortion wrong or right? Etc.
- As representatives of the religious community, we want to also share three (3) scriptures referencing the life of babies in their mothers’ womb:
- “For you formed my inward parts, you covered me in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13
- “Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before you were born I knew you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” Jeremiah 1:4-5, and
- “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” St. Luke 1:41-44
- We want to again thank you for the invitation and to emphasize that the extreme abortion section in the Public Health Bill should not be passed until it’s thoroughly consider by the Liberian people – including the new government because of its repercussion on the religious, cultural and traditional life of the country.
- Thanks for your consideration and continuing partnership, and God bless