eSwatini judge's comments spark abortion debate

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A High Court judge in eSwatini has launched a debate about legalising abortion. Justice Qinisile Mabuza presided over a case involving a 26-year-old woman who was accused of causing the death of her four-year-old son by drowning him. The eSwatini Observer reported that the child's father had denied his paternity, leaving her to raise the child herself.

This prompted the judge to question what provisions were available for women who faced a similar plight. The Constitution provides that abortion can be allowed on medical or therapeutic grounds, including where a doctor certifies that continued pregnancy will endanger the life or constitute a serious threat to the physical health of the mother.

According to the newspaper, Mabuza hinted that she viewed the current situation as “shackling women's autonomy” and she undertook to tackle the current ban on abortion before she retires from the Bench.

Swazi Media Commentary reports that representatives from various organisations subsequently called for a debate on the matter. Bongani Msibi of the Family Life Association of Swaziland said the legalisation of abortion could help to protect their reproductive and health rights.

Full Swazi Media Commentary report

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