MONROVIA – Dr. Peter Coleman, a former Grand Kru County Senator in Liberia says he supports the abortion bill hanging at the Liberian Senate. Coleman told this medium in an exclusive interview that he’s one of those who believe that women should have the choice to keep a pregnancy or not.
The medical doctor pointed out that the present public health law, especially the one on abortion, is killing a lot of young girls, especially between the ages of 15 to 18. Dr. Coleman said because the public health law of Liberia prohibits abortion, young girls are doing it illegally and when it goes wrong, they are rushed to hospitals and at times, have their uteruses removed. He said this is cruel.
According to Dr. Coleman, he believes that women and girls must decide whether to keep a pregnancy, especially under 18 weeks. He added that the abortion bill pending at the Liberian Senate is in accordance with international protocols; some of which Liberia is a signatory to.
He said he works as a consultant at the Ministry of Health and has been working with Liberian lawmakers to have the existing public health law changed in favor of legal abortion.
The bill has divided opinions in and out of Liberia.
United States Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the House Global Health and Global Human Rights Subcommittee, recently issued the following statement regarding Liberian efforts to expand abortion and promote population control:
“The Liberian Senate must live up to its obligations to defend life at all stages from womb to tomb and must reject any changes to their national law that would weaken protections for unborn children, including proposals allowing unrestricted abortion until 18 weeks.
Abortion takes the life of an unborn child, who can feel the pain of abortion, and abortion harms the mother psychologically, spiritually and often physically. Rather, protections should be enhanced for mothers and unborn children.
For our part, the US Congress will thoroughly examine whether the Biden Administration broke US law and violated the Siljander Amendment by promoting abortion in Liberia and whether it is overlooking the corruption of the Weah administration in order to secure acquiescence for its neo-colonialist population control agenda.”
Smith has accused Sweden of allegedly bribing people in the legislature, the government and other places to ensure the passage of the bill.
Reacting to the allegation by Representative Smith, the Government of Sweden though did not name Rep. Smith, disclosed it remains steadfast in supporting pro-choice activists and funding campaigns that advocate for the legalization of abortion in Liberia even though it “respects the views of religious leaders” who oppose abortion.
Swedish Ambassador to Liberia Urban Sjöström, spoke to a local newspaper a few days after members of Liberia’s Religious Council strongly criticized the Swedish Embassy in Liberia for funding campaigns that push for the legalization of abortion in Liberia.
The Council spoke as the Senate attempts to amend the Public Health Law to make abortion legal after coming under intense pressure from the Amplifying Rights Network, a coalition of ten civil society organizations, which is allegedly supported by the Swedish government and has been pushing and holding campaigns for the decriminalization of abortion.
“Yes, Sweden supports decriminalization of abortion, as recommended in WHO’s 2022 Abortion Care Guideline, which recommends the full decriminalization of abortion,” Sjöström said in response to an email from a local paper, Daily Observer seeking comments.
“Sweden recognizes that this is a complex issue in Liberia and in many countries and respects the views of the leaders of faith-based organizations in Liberia. But the ongoing process to revise Liberia’s public health law is a domestic endeavor that follows the integrity and independence of Liberia’s law-making process. Sweden applauds the initiative and supports CSOs who stand behind the bill and will continue to support them in their important work.
It is not clear, how President Weah, a preacher man in a church, would want to recall the Legislature, to amongst other things pass the abortion bill. Eyes are on the Legislature on this.
The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Liberia, representing Christian doctors and healthcare professionals across the country, says it is grieved to learn of the proposed legalization of abortion across Liberia through the Public Health Bill. We are especially alarmed to learn that this may be voted through the Senate in the coming week or two.
Like many other stakeholders and the public, we were not consulted before the proposals to legalize abortion, which is the taking of a human life. The Hippocratic Oath expressly forbids abortion. As both doctors and Christians, therefore, we are compelled to resist these proposals.
We are particularly saddened to hear how extreme the proposals are. The Public Health Bill seeks to legalize abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks. This would give Liberia the most extreme abortion law in the entire continent. However, we must be clear that this Bill cannot be fixed merely by lowering the limit to 18 weeks, as has been rumored. The abortion provisions must be withdrawn in their entirety.
Abortion is already legal when the woman’s life is at risk and our duty to save life is not impeded by the current law. Even if there were a need to loosen the current law, legalizing abortion on demand is grossly disproportionate and anathema to our duty as doctors to protect life, not to take it.
Abortion for economic or social reasons, and abortion on demand, is not healthcare. Although morbidity from clandestine abortion may be significant, there is no convincing evidence that legalization is the answer, and indeed it may make the problem worse. Countries that protect unborn life, such as Poland and Malta, have the best maternal mortality statistics in the entire world.
Science confirms what scripture teaches: that human life begins at conception. Doctors and scientists have known that fertilization marks the beginning of an individual human organism for nearly two centuries. Nothing has contradicted this since. As such, human life must be protected from that point: not from 24 weeks, not from 18 weeks. From its very beginning at conception.
In Western countries where abortion is legal, 1 in 3 women have an abortion, and 1 in 4 pregnancies are terminated by abortion. We cannot stand by while a quarter of our country’s children are legally killed by abortion. Not only are the children harmed, but abortion has also been shown to be harmful for women’s health, particularly their mental health.
The medical profession has not called for this bill, nor has the public. This raises the question of where the bill came from. Our own colleagues have reported pressure from European governments and American NGOs to support this bill. This is not a Liberian idea. This is a Western idea that has been promoted in Liberia with Western money.
Since this bill stands so clearly in contrast with sound medical science, with our Christian faith, with Liberian values, and with the well-being of our children and families, we call for the abortion provisions to be completely removed. No amendment will rescue this attempt to legalize abortion: the law must stay exactly as it is.
If abortion is to be legalized, let the politicians make their position clear in the election and let the people decide. Let us not legalize abortion at the behest of Western leaders. We do not call for a 2-week delay in the Bill, or an amendment to soften it. We call for a complete retraction of the abortion provisions and will not accept anything less than this. Our children and mothers are too valuable. CMDA Liberia.