Abortions and brothels should be legalized in Botswana

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This past Monday, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso made a plea for Parliament to legalise brothels and abortion, as well as give needy women a pregnancy allowance.

These are noble ideas, but I don’t agree with the latter suggestion. Pregnancy allowances would be a waste of taxpayers’ funds. Women shouldn’t be praised for giving birth to children they cannot afford to take of. They should be praised for excelling in their careers, and being financially independent. We shouldn’t glamourise struggle. Instead, women should have easy access to contraceptives without the “stigma” of taking reproductive precautions. Pregnancy allowances would possibly further increase the ‘dependency syndrome’ rampant in our society. Some women, especially the poor and unemployed, would in desperation, have multiple births, confident that they would be supported through government allowances. Men who habitually sow their seeds everywhere would also not take responsibility for their offspring, thinking, ‘Goromente o tla reka metseto.’ The needy should be empowered to embrace family planning. It doesn’t make sense to keep having children that you cannot afford to raise them. Mongwe le mongwe o tshwanetse go itekanya morwalo. 

Moving right along, if prostitution were legalised, brothels would be regulated and taxed. This would also mean that prostitutes have open access to health services, and are legally protected. Some prostitutes are raped, robbed and exposed to diseases in “their line of duty”, because they are disempowered to negotiate safe sex, and have nowhere to turn when they are harassed or abused. We are still in denial that prostitution exists. We forget that its not only women who stand on street corners hissing, “Me-nice, me-nice, this other one sour.” Transactional sex takes place across our society, across class, age and class. 

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