The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has said that certain areas of definition in the ‘Safe Abortion Bill’ are not clear, citing it as a reason why He is yet to asset his signature into the controversial Bill.
The bill, which has attracted a lot of public debate was approved by the Sierra Leone parliament towards the end of the year 2015. However, as a result of objections from several groups especially the Inter Religious Council, the President refused to append his signature when the bill was brought to him. He sent it back to parliament for an amendment.
While he was addressing thousands of women who converged at the Miatta conference centre to observe the International Women’s Day, President Koroma said parliament sent the bill back to him with no amendment.
He said on that note he has looked at the bill and has made the following comment:
“Certain areas definitions in the bill are not clear. The definition of abortion and when to effect it is not in the bill,” he stressed, adding that some countries have stipulated time, such as weeks, to affect it.
He said “there is no clear definition as to who is a medical practitioner,” noting that there is variance in definition with that of the Medical and Dental Association.
The President further stated that “the right to life is an entrenched law in the constitution, so even though we are to domesticate and adopt the Maputo protocol, I believe we should go through the due process of the law”.
The President said he has therefore sent the bill back to parliament for them to look at it on the above mentioned lines. There was however mixed feelings in the hall as some of the women applauded to the points raised by the President while others demanded that he passed the bill into law.