Article 165 of the draft Penal Code, which was approved last week by the Chamber of Deputies and promptly forwarded to the Senate for further scrutiny, criminalises abortion but outlines four exceptional cases under which it may be permitted by a court of law.
The article stipulates that there is no criminal liability for a woman who causes her own abortion and a medical doctor who helps a woman to abort provided that any of the following conditions are met. They are; in case of pregnancy as a result of incest, rape, forced marriage, and/or when the continuation of a pregnancy seriously jeopardises the health of the unborn baby or the pregnant woman.
But Rwaje insisted that, rather than accepting abortion under those conditions, measures should be taken to address the four highlighted causes “since they are the problem and not abortion”.
He argued that some people were also born as a result of terrible circumstances, like rape, forced marriages or incest, among others, but have gone on to become useful citizens to the nation.
Retired Anglican Archbishop, Most Reverend Emmanuel Kolini, said abortion was wrong, adding that pouring innocent blood brings terrible conditions on a nation.
He, however, couldn’t commit himself regarding clause four of Article 165, which permits abortion to save a life.
Asked his position in case a woman who has been advised by medical personnel to abort due to the fact that the health of mother/baby was at great risk if they continued with the pregnancy, Kolini said the decision should be between the two parents.
“The decision should be made by the two parents of the child and a medical doctor. If they are uncertain about the decision, they should ask for God’s help,” he said.
Asked the same question, Archbishop Rwaje couldn’t also commit himself on whether he would advise a woman in that situation to terminate the pregnancy or not, only insisting that abortion is wrong.
Bishop Mbonyitege, however, stuck to his guns, saying “abortion is killing and therefore wrong”.
Archbishop Rwaje warned that secularism was knocking at the door of the country, so Rwandans should be very careful not to let it in.
Anglican bishop, Louis Muvunyi, of Kigali Diocese, Rwanda is down the same lane the US took when it started legalising abortion “bit-by-bit.”