By Azeenarh Mohammed (@xeenarh)
(Closeted optimist, provocative writer)
This article is basically about abortion and a woman’s right to her body.
We all agree that when one is in pain or discomfort, the person is allowed to remove whatever the cause of pain or discomfort is. If that person somehow chooses to live with the pain, then by all means he/she is welcome to it.
Well pregnancy is like a disease for MOST people. There is morning sickness, saliva spitting, constant crying/nausea, mood swings, swollen feet, backache, outrageous cravings, extra body mass, and carrying the weight of the baby for 9 solid months. On top of that, add the torture of labour, cost of pain and pregnancy pills, hospital bills, baby food, diapers and the responsibility of bringing up another human being. Women are generally willing to go through this process IF they want to keep the baby and can take care of it. Imagine a young woman without source of income or a home being forced to undertake such huge responsibilities without prior planning.
I know we will all tend to judge young girls who are in that situation, but remember that just because you did not get caught doesn’t mean you are pure of sin.
Pregnancy, child rearing, family and religion are personal issues and the state should not have a say in it or impose their own choices on others. Everyone has a right to make mistakes, but only women are denied the rights to do something about it. A child (especially an illegitimate one) is a huge responsibility and not something you undertake without preparation. It is a life style choice and the government should not be allowed to force individuals who don’t want babies to keep unwanted pregnancies. I think we can all agree that we already have too many children suffering as it is.
Because women can not legally seek for help, many have had to employ illegal means to correct their mistakes, often times resulting in disastrous outcomes. Millions of women have died attempting to illegally abort pregnancies and many who lived have lost the option of having kids in the future due to damage from unqualified ‘Doctors.’ There are also those who were forced to try desperate methods which ended up bringing children into this world with cruel deformities.
A number of women who keep those unwanted pregnancies have been known to abandon them in gutters, toilets, dustbins or even strangled them at birth. Also disturbing are those who have brought children to this world and have neglected to take care of them. They have instead used them for labour, or sent them out to the world to fend for themselves making them easy target for recruit into, theft, prostitution and terrorism.
Saudata Sani member of the House of Representatives for Kaduna state (PDP) says making more abortions available is not the answer. In her words, the law is in place to ‘protect public morality’ and this is the general feeling of the law makers.
The interesting part is that most people are against abortion because of religion. Although the law is apart from religion and should remain so, I will list out what the major religions say below.
ISLAM: Generally, abortion is not permissible in Islam except in an instance where the mother’s life is in danger, or where a foetus suffers from physical and mental deformity that can’t be treated and will cause great suffering to the child. Some scholars also permit abortion where the mother is the victim of a rape or of incest. Islam forbids the termination of a pregnancy after soul or ‘Ruh’ is given to the foetus. Although there are different opinions among Islamic scholars about when life begins and when abortion is permissible, most agree that the termination of a pregnancy after 120 days (when a foetus becomes a living soul) is not permissible.
CHRISTIANITY: Several sects of Christianity view abortion differently although it is mostly seen as at least as grave as sexual immorality. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and most evangelical Protestants that believe life begins at conception oppose deliberate abortion as immoral. Some mainline Protestant denominations such as the Methodist Church, United Church of Christ among others, are more permissive of abortion.
HINDU: Some Hindus support abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at imminent risk or when the foetus has a life threatening developmental anomaly.
JEWS: Orthodox Jewish teachings sanction abortion as a means of safeguarding the life of the woman. While the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements openly advocate for the right to a safe and accessible abortion, the Orthodox movement is less unified on the issue. There are rulings that often appear conflicting on the matter because the Talmud states that a foetus is not legally a person until it is delivered.
We can agree that clearly even the religions are not in agreement as to the position of abortion. Why then do we have a law that blankets everyone’s choice? The truth remains that women have been taking this very personal decisions in their hands regardless of what the state thinks. I think it is time we stop the hypocrisy and gave rhem the right to a safe place to shape their future.
The truth is I respect people who think that abortion is wrong, but I would also appreciate it if they respect other peoples choices and gave those people a chance to choose what they believe is right for their future.
I don’t know the statistics for deaths and complications via illegal abortion in Nigeria but I can wager that it beats the number of people killed by boko haram annually.