FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today we stand in solidarity with our sister organisation in Namibia, the Voices for Choices and Rights Coalition (VCRC), as they seek to uphold womxn’s rights by motivating for the decriminalisation of abortion in Namibia.

WINDHOEK, 18 OCTOBER 2021: The Women’s Legal Centre’s (WLC) Namibian-based partner, VCRC, made oral presentations to a standing committee of the Namibian Parliament today, recommending that the Namibian government decriminalise access to safe abortion procedures as a human right by repealing the ‘Abortion and Sterilization Act of 1975’.

This was the first petition tabled to the Namibian parliament since independence on the issues of abortion and sterilisation. It comes after a well-supported petition, started in June 2020, that supported the liberalisation of abortion laws in the country.

Speaking ahead of the VCRC’s public hearing, WLC attorney Mandi Mudarikwa said that the WLC are keenly aware of the interconnections of the struggles and challenges that womxn navigate on a daily basis.

“The WLC believes firmly in the right to make decisions about our bodies as womxn and the freedom to decide to have a baby, when to have a baby and how to space the births of our children. We believe that laws that deny womxn this ability seriously undermine their constitutional rights including equality, dignity, bodily autonomy and health among others. Today we stand in solidarity with our sister organisation, VCRC, in the quest to realise a more equal and more gender-inclusive Namibia.”

Interested members of the public, local and regional partners, and the international community are invited to join the proceedings online here.

FOR EDITORS

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) is an African Feminist law centre in South Africa that works to advance the rights of vulnerable and marginalised womxn. Through an intersectional lens, the WLC works to advance the law from a gendered perspective, doing so primarily through strategic litigation, advocacy, education and training. The WLC focuses its work in five interconnected programmatic areas: the right to favourable and just working conditions; equality in relationships; the right to be free from violence; the right to land, housing and property; and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). WLC’s work is focused on the promotion and achievement of substantive gender equality and eradication of gender-based discrimination.

The Voices for Choices and Rights Coalition (VCRC) is a nationwide movement of voices in Namibia, advocating for the choices reflective of bodily autonomy and freedom from the structural violence of restrictive abortion laws.

For media enquiries, contact Ru du Toit (communications@wlce.co.za or 079 990 2494)

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