LEGALISING ABORTION: MATTERS ARISING

“You mean if I keep this pregnancy

That is the end of our relationship?”

“Exactly, I can’t continue keeping a
a girl who doesn’t adhere to my
instructions. Besides I am not ready
to father a child now”

“So I should terminate my unborn child
and put my life on the line”?

“No, I know a doctor, who can handle it,
He is a professional”

“I wonder how many girls you have
deceived, may God forgive you. 

That was the conversation that ensued between two lovers. Unequivocally, the woman is pregnant and she is scared of having an abortion due to the risk involved. Her lover is persuading her to get rid of the pregnancy so he can continue dissecting and devouring her anatomy. Her refusal is numbering the days of her relationship. Painfully, she cares less.

This brings us to the issue of abortion and matters arising. Many vulnerable girls or young women have fallen victims of carrying unwanted pregnancies and their last resort is usually abortion which in most cases ends in fiasco. In a bid to solve a problem, another is created. Sometimes this problem remains indelible, mightier than the initial one.

Recently, in Owina area of the ancient city of Benin, an ND1 female student of one of the south-south polytechnics was brought home due to the complications arising from the abortion she had in school. Before Jack could say Robin, she passed on. Money spent, time wasted, her family agonised. In other occasions, we hear of some married women finding it a Herculean task to conceive as a result of activities embarked on, in their groovy days. Their reproductive organ must have been tampered with. When it is time to utilise it, it fails, one old woman (witch) who stays in their neighbourhood takes the blame. Of course, she would not know that some women who have sown their wild oaths when they were young are pointing accusing fingers at her for their inability to procreate. In this instance, old age becomes a curse. However, the young shall grow and what goes around will definitely come around.
Most religious leaders believe that the commonest sin is fornication. The sin is like a lie. At each stage, you have to commit another sin to cover the previous ones. It is equally like a triangle; growing from the base to the top. When committed, the possible repercussion might be contracting sexually transmitted infections like syphilis, gonorrhoea or HIV. You conclude that somebody gave it to you and others must get their own fair share. You commit another sin by sharing the “love”. Also, you can have unwanted pregnancy to contend with. You decide to remove it; that is murder. The triangle has gotten to the pinnacle. Your cup is overflowing. Like Catholics would say “mortal sin”. Abortion caused by fornication can also increase mortality rate and take away able-bodied women leaving affected men to succeed alone which becomes a mirage because it is generally agreed that behind every successful man there is a woman. What then is the way out?

By and large, abortion literally means the deliberate ending of a pregnancy at an early stage or a medical operation to end a pregnancy within the first trimester. To legalise abortion would be of immense help to the society. From a religious perspective, abortion is a serious sin tantamount to murder. All the same, its importance cannot be underplayed. Consequently, abortion if legalised will help in birth control says Dr. Austinechuks Onyebuchi of University of Benin Teaching hospital (UBTH). The epidemic of having many children we cannot cater for would be reduced. It helps in planning the family. There are many family planning programmes of which abortion is the last resort when others fail. A woman carrying unwanted pregnancy can boldly walk into a recognised hospital and manage the situation only when it is legalised. Reversely, quacks are those that are normally patronised giving room for avoidable complications.
The legality of abortion would help in controlling female mortality. In my opinion, the life of the mother of the unborn child is more important than the baby. I stand to be corrected. That is why in most cases the mother is often times sought after before the newly born. When legal, they can seek the services of a professional doctor for the removal of the foetus, thereby saving the lives of many ladies.
Conversely, this piece is not intended to encourage immorality among youths; as may be perceived but to serve as a check on maternal mortality arising from complications due to unprofessional execution of abortion. Quacks should be thrown out of business by legalising abortion. Children born out of wedlock are regarded as illegitimate children. To avoid such stigmatisation, the legality of abortion becomes imperative. If these children should live, who will cater for them? Is it their irresponsible parents? If proper care is not taken, they would become societal nuisance. Compared to others born in wedlock, they have little or no solid foundation. They begin to hustle early in life in order to survive. They become exposed to different risks in the society like armed robbery, prostitution and narcotic drugs. To say the least, they become agents of discomfort to the society at large.

In another vein, “abortion is sought for a variety of reasons ranging from financial problems to a failed, perhaps, abusive relationship that results in their not wanting any further ties with the man. Or the pregnancy might not fit into the plans of the woman”. (Awake p.3, June 2009). The reasons are endless.
Unwanted pregnancies truncate the future and plans of the woman involved. The only option left is to have an abortion. Making it legal will bring forth a sound knowledge of the concept thereby helping any woman undertaking that route to understand the pros and cons of abortion.

In the case of RAPE, legalising abortion is no longer debatable. A woman who was raped by hoodlums and eventually becomes pregnant; what other option is left, considering the psychological trauma of being raped and the pains of carrying the pregnancy till due date. And for a lifetime looking at a child whose father is a rapist is really heartbreaking. The continued existence of that child will continually remind the mother, of the day hoodlums had canal knowledge of her without her consent. Won’t that child be a reminder of the tragic past to the mother of the child; an image that whenever thought of, keeps her in a state of melancholy. Some persons might argue that making abortion legal will not prevent rape but it will help in averting the aftermaths of rape.

On several occasions, many bills have been sponsored in the national assembly. Our legislators should not shy away from this life threatening issue. Maybe because of its affiliation with morality; it might seem like aiding and abetting sexual immorality but i think the life of our citizens is of utmost importance.
This article was written by me as an IT student learning in Observer Newspaper and published by same newspaper on Saturday March 26, 2011