The youth said this during a five-day Youth Task Force Training Workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, which Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) organised in the district.
Section 149 of the Penal Code says any person who administers abortion shall be liable to imprisonment for 14 years while Section 150 indicates that any woman who solicits abortion is liable to seven years imprisonment.
The 2010 National Statistics Office Demographic Health Survey showed that 17 percent of maternal deaths in Malawi are attributable to unsafe abortions. At least 70 000 women have abortions every year.
The youth argued that criminalising abortion only serves to force women to access abortions from traditional healers and illegal clinics, thereby endangering the womenâ€™s lives.
â€œGovernment should legalise abortion if we are to reduce maternal deaths. Many youths are dying because they secretly carry out unsafe abortions using herbs. But when the law is put in place, girls will be able to go to hospitals to carry out safe abortions without fear,â€ said Ibra Mayela, one of the participants.
Yoneco district projects officer Patrick Makonde said they want to sensitise the community to the dangers of unsafe abortions.
â€œWe would like to make people understand consequences of unsafe abortions so that they can demand services that would enable them to make positive choices about their sexual and reproductive health,â€ said Makonde.
Yoneco is implementing a sexual and reproductive health services and rights project for young people in the area.