Opposition leader rejects a call to legalise abortion in Samoa.
A recommendation to legalise abortion in the country has been rejected by the leadership of the Opposition party, the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.).
Veteran M.P. Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said that Samoa should slam the door shut on calls to legalise abortion in Samoa.
The recommendation to legalise abortion is part of a submission by the U.N. country office as part of the Universal Periodic Review (U.P.R.) to be undertaken by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Samoa is among 14 states whose human rights records will go under scrutiny with the Council’s session scheduled for this Wednesday 3 November.
But responding to queries from the Samoa Observer, the former Prime Minister said that abortion "is murder" and should never be accepted in Samoa because of its cultural and Christian beliefs.
"Samoa is a country whose people are strong in their cultural values and Christian beliefs," Tuilaepa said.
"Such a practice is not accepted within our cultural values and Samoan beliefs. It is also not something that should be accepted in a Christian country.
"So it's not my opinion, but just stating facts that such a move will never be accepted in Samoa. This is because we should also keep to our values and stay true to our beliefs.
"Not everything that is recommended by the U.N. is good and suitable for all the countries in the world. This is because the world is made of different people with different beliefs and from different ethnic groups.
"Some of the recommendations might go against one country's customs and beliefs. I mean they come up with a lot of great initiatives, but there are some things that are not applicable to Samoa."
Tuilaepa reiterated that it's vital that the Government should take into consideration Samoa's unique cultural values and Christian beliefs when it comes to matters such as "abortion."
"Whatever it is, we should always stick to our values and uphold our heritage and Christian beliefs."
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its submission to the U.N., raised concerns about Samoa’s limited grounds for legal abortion.
It suggested this be considered in “at least in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal impairment and risk to the health or life of the pregnant woman, and decriminalise abortion in all other cases”.
In 2017 a similar call was made by the Ministry of Health in the National HIV, AIDS and STI Policy 2017 – 2022 report. At the time the report noted the abortion service is critical to the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV, those dealing with sexually transmitted infection and survivors of rape and incest offences.