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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

“LICENSE TO KILL”: BISHOP KORTU BROWN OPPOSES PASSAGE OF LAW TO LEGALIZE ABORTION IN LIBERIA

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VIRGINIA, LIBERIA – Renowned Liberian clergyman, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, has strongly raised his voice against the passage of a proposed law seeking to legalize induced abortion in Liberia.

In an exclusive interview with Smart News Liberia (SNL), at his Virginia – Liberia offices at the weekend, Bishop Brown likened the enactment of a law in Liberia to legalize abortion, to a license to kill babies, appealing that lawmakers refrain from enacting such proposal into law.

“We are raising our voices. We’re saying to our lawmakers; don’t let anybody make you to give a license to your children to kill your grandchildren. Because what we’re seeing unfolding if this law was to [be] passed, is like giving a license to our children to kill our grandchildren – and the lawmakers should watch up; you should watch up, don’t give a license to your children to kill your grandchildren. We need our grandchildren in Liberia,” the top-notch Liberian cleric pointed out.

Currently,  an Act proposing that the country’s Public Health Law, specifically the portion regarding Pro-life or induced abortion be revised, is at the Liberian Senate for debate, SNL has reliably been informed.

Howbeit, Bishop Brown, who intimated that members of the religious community are deeply concerned about attempts by people who want to amend or revise the existing laws on abortion in Liberia, is of the conviction that as a country of predominantly religious people, such a proposal is bad news for Liberia, and as such, should not be enacted into law.

“The religious community is saying no. The religious community is saying let us not grant ourselves a license to kill our babies. That will not be a good thing. Let’s maintain our pro-life stance, except in the case of a real threat or emergency, or the otherwise. This is where we should be for the people we are,” he warned.

He continued: “Don’t forget, we have not heard the results in full of the 2022 National Housing and Population Census. But in 2008 census results were like 98% of this country’s population was religious; Christians, Muslims, were 98% – and to govern a people, you must know who they are, and where we are, we are religious people and we have key concerns about the new abortion law that is being proposed to be passed by the National Legislature, and we think that it’s not appropriate, it’s not timely. We don’t think that’s the way to go.”

“For who we are as Liberians’ we are religious people, we are African people, we are people who believe in the right to life. We think that making any law that some suggestions proposed would exterminate between 40 to 50 thousand Liberian children every year, I think would be a disservice to this country. I don’t think that is the law that our lawmakers should be pushing right now in Liberia.” Bishop Brown, the immediate past President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), emphasized.

He disclosed that religious leaders in the country have reached a consensus on the fact that Liberia should not pass any law that would make abortion legal, up to between four to six months, as some people are suggesting.

He expressed disgust over recent suggestions for abortion to be on demand for anywhere between four to six months that a baby can be killed or aborted, cautioning that this is not the way for Liberia to go.

“And the religious community, we believe, for example, if abortion was to be allowed for any reason, it would be for health reasons, for incest, for rape, for disability of Festus. But, just to say you’re carrying out an induced abortion, to demand abortion at any time, no! I don’t think that the religious community is out for that, and that’s why we are making these calls, that’s why we are making these rounds, that’s why we are speaking out to the Liberian people – you know Liberia respects life. We are religious people. We are a Godly people, We honor life, [and] we believe we should continue to do that. We should not encourage the killing of children in the name of trying to protect those same children. I think that would be a mistake,” he added.

Bishop Brown, who is of the belief that the lawmakers would listen to the call of religious leaders to desist from passing into law the proposal to legalize abortion in the country, further appealed to the legislators including Senate President Pro Tempore, Grand Kru County Senator, Albert Chie, who he said is a Catholic, to do the needful and quash the abortion legalization proposal.

“We think they would listen to us. We’re their religious leaders and they should listen. So again, we’re speaking to this Bill, which suggests that Liberia should allow abortion up to the 14th week. In fact, previously I heard it was between 18 to 24 weeks, [which] is almost by six months. Do you want to kill a six-month-old baby on demand? So, I think that our lawmakers should listen to us. I don’t know whether the House of Representatives has passed this law, but I know the Bill is in the Senate. I want to appeal to the many other lawmakers, the majority of whom are church people, that is not the way for Liberia to go. We should not pass a law here that will grant a license for the killing of our babies,” he stated.

He asserted that Liberia has got more pressing issues to attend to at the moment rather than prioritizing the enactment of an abortion law that seeks to exterminate forty to fifty thousand children, indicating that doing so would cost the country dearly.

“We’ve got a lot more serious things in this country to talk about than just trying to pass a law that would just create more problems for Liberia – create more social problems, create more medical problems for us. I think we should not go that way.

Although proponents of the abortion law are arguing that in the absence of legislation, abortion is ongoing in Liberia, Bishop Brown counter-argues that, but if a license is granted and the act is legalized, it would suggest that there will be anywhere between 40 to 50 thousand children being aborted every year.

Asked how would that affect Liberia, the former President of the LCC intoned that it would adversely affect the country’s population, the youth, families, and will create more medical problems and that it could as well lead to unwarranted loss of lives.

“Let’s say, right here in our Mano River Union basin, there’s an estimate that we are about 52 million people, only about 10% are Liberians – and even that 10% percent, from our recent census, says [we are] 5.2 million. So if the Mano River Union, that’s Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, is 52 million, we’re just 10%, then we want to start exercising where we start exterminating ourselves when we should be advancing, then we’re exterminating ourselves. No, I think that would have an adverse effect on our population, on our young people, and on families, it will create more medical problems, it could lead to unwarranted loss of lives because now abortion would be legal. It would be on demand, and just imagine how many female lives would be lost in the process. Because, when you say that abortion can be acquired it doesn’t mean that all the facilities are improved immediately. No, it doesn’t mean that all of the facilities are improved and you can go ahead and have an abortion, no. So it’s a real risk.

Bishop Brown, who averred that laws are influenced from many angles, many actors, and many persuasions, wonders why would anybody be trying to pass a law that would kill children up to six months, in their mothers’ womb.

“There is a science that suggests that when the baby is three weeks old, it already can feel pain. Science is available that if the baby is three months old; 14 weeks, all the organs are already functional. There is a science that is available on some of that. So why would anybody be suggesting that we should be exterminating children for up to six months? Where does that come from,” said Bishop Brown, who described such as being really troubling.

“I think it’s a concern for all Liberians, and I think every Liberian should be concerned. We should be concerned about the fact that we should not give license for children just to be killed on demand,” said Bishop Brown, who, while making reference to the Holy Bible, stated that scripture establishes that life is formed immediately upon conception.

“You know what David said? You know as a Pastor, I will say what David said in Psalm 139: 13, 14, 15, 16, you know, talking about being known by God in his mother’s womb before he was even formed.

He said God numbered his days – and if God numbered our days and we believe that, then we know that life is formed at conception. Life is formed in the mother’s womb, and should we destroy that life, and destroy that life in the name of what? In what’s name and in whose name and for what purpose should we destroy that life? So I think this is a wagon exercise, and I think it’s bad news for Liberia.

I think Liberia, we should focus on… let’s say, we have these elections before us and it should be a major concern for all Liberians at the moment. Trying to ensure that the environment is peaceful; the preparations are steady; that the elections can be free, fair, and transparent, and that after the elections, this country can continue to survive.

I think this should be right now the preoccupation of all Liberians – and we have too many other problems; there is hunger, there is poverty, and why we’re not passing some Bill on the hunger thing? Why we’re not passing some bills on the poverty thing? Why we don’t look for extremity? No, I don’t think the abortion thing should become an extreme issue for this country. And I think that it’s just unwarranted. I think it’s a good time being used in a bad way,” the senior Liberian cleric observed.

Olando Testimony Zeongar
A cleric and a career journalist, with a wealth of experience in the journalism craft that spans over two decades. He’s also a poet and an editor.

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