Several religious leaders have raised concerns over an advocacy campaign championed by a nongovernmental organisation, Health Development Initiative (HDI), to decriminalise abortion.
According to HDI, continued criminalisation of the act leads to unsafe abortion which might cause death and other complications, saying that legalising it would lead to the use of safer methods to avoid unnecessary deaths.
Sheikh Ali Bakera of Al-Madhina Mosque located in downtown Kigali City, said that according to Islam, abortion is equivalent to murder, therefore a major crime and sin.
He however pointed out at one exception: “It’s only tolerable to terminate the pregnancy when it’s going to cause death and serious complications to the mother. However, this has to be proven and permitted by a doctor, otherwise there are no other exceptions at all,” said Sheikh Bakera.
The Archbishop of Rwanda Anglican Church, Onesphore Rwaje also plainly voiced his church’s views against abortion and its decriminalisation.
“We are working against it. It’s murder because after fertilisation, the foetus is considered a child. It’s also against the Christian ethics and belief,” said the Archbishop.
He cited a number of scriptures in the Bible to back up his stand, one of which is Jeremiah 1:5 which states; “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.”
Pastor Geoffrey Killi of the Kigali English Adventist Church similarly said his position was pro-life.
He said that life begins during conception observing that terminating it is murder, unethical, inhumane, immoral and against the laws of God.
Pastor Bernard Bucyana of Christian Life Assemblies in Nyarutarama, said human life is a continuous process and any act of intentionally destroying it is a violation of the sixth commandment.
He added that even science shows that after nineteen days, it is not just a foetus, but has life and muscles develop after four weeks, hence deliberate termination is murder.
Bucyana also revealed that they deal with many women who have gone through abortion.
He said that such women usually have indescribable emotional distress and turmoil that takes time to heal.
According to an official from the Catholic Church, who preferred anonymity as he is not allowed to speak on its behalf, the church has already produced a statement indicating their anti-abortion stance.