COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia General Secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya says the revelation by the Ministry of Health that Zambia records about 93,000 abortions annually is an issue of concern which is not reflective of the christian nation declaration.

And Fr Chikoya says it is saddening that sex has just become a game to some men who end up failing to take responsibility when women fall pregnant.

In an interview, Fr Chikoya said the alarming cases of abortions gave the country a bad image.

“The records give the country a very wrong image and gives us more pressure as Christians to do our best but we can’t live our lives for other people, every individual has a right protected by the constitution to operate in the manner they wish to. Therefore, it may not be correct to paint a bad image of Zambia because of the records but there is on one part the declaration that Zambia is a Christian Nation but in Zambia, we have people who are Christians, people who are non Christians, we have backslidden Christians and people who belong to other religions and this is the dynamic that we always have to live with and so I don’t subscribe to that school of thought of people who think that just by the declaration, everyone in the country adheres to the Christian principles, that is not the reality and we all know that,” Fr Chikoya said

“No wonder we have some of the things that are going on like the abortions in this country. The government of Zambia through the Ministry of Health permitted some of those abortions to happen and that brings about some contradictions because if we have to be Christians in the real sense of the word, or in terms of the declaration, then we have to apply the principles everywhere and that is why there is that challenge, because look, how do you live in such an environment where you are not 100 percent sure in terms of the population features? We are Christians by decree and by the constitution so the abortions are a bad testimony actually and that doesn’t reflect very well because of that tag that we have.”

Fr Chikoya said there was need for women to have some judgment free platforms at which they could openly discuss their feelings on unexpected pregnancies.

“There is need to raise awareness, we must be more visible and more proactive regarding these issues. Churches should pray and you know, praying is very good but people need answers to practical challenges they face, if they have a baby or they are pregnant and they don’t feel they want that pregnancy, you pray for them and do everything for them but if it’s not solving their problem, they need a corner, they need a free safety place where they can talk to someone, where they can be counselled, we need to see more of these even in our churches. We need more of the youth friendly corner, women friendly corner and also the people responsible for making women pregnant, they must start being responsible for these women,” he said.

And Fr Chikoya noted that sex had become just a game to some men.

“There are a lot of irresponsible men in our society. To them, sex has just become a game, today you will see them with this one, tomorrow with another woman and so we have women getting pregnant every day and at the end of the day, these men are not being held accountable and so it’s about time that society begins to make these men accountable. Let’s also not forget about the street kids, we see street kids with kids and sometimes these are girls who are just taken advantage of by some people. So society should be able to start creating an environment where it should not be easy to take advantage of these street kids, impregnate them and walk away. We should not let them get away with it and live their lives while leaving the women alone to fend for themselves and deal with the stigma and in most cases pushing these girls to commit an abortion and put their lives at risk. Some even end up dying in that process while the men get away with it showing no sense of care to the women they impregnate,” he said.

He said members of the society should take it upon themselves to make the men that abandon pregnant women accountable.

“So society will have to make it very difficult for such people to thrive in society, there is need for more education, more sensitization but also corners where people can go with their pregnancies and won’t be called names, won’t be condemned but instead be guided until they are able to make well informed decisions regarding their pregnancy,” said Fr Chikoya.

“We believe that life begins at conception and therefore a human being is a human being right from conception and every human being must respect the sanctity of human life. We recognize that there are challenges and situations that could lead to abortions but in many cases, people are just so self centered and just want to get along with their lives but this should not come at the expense of killing a fetus because human beings are human beings the moment they are conceived”.