Early this year, during the Big Brother Nigeria reality show, one of the housemates revealed that she has had an abortion before and somebody beside me said “You can imagine. Is that a thing to be proud of? Why go on reality tv to say it?”
What do Nigerians have against abortion. People make mistakes in life and they are the one who are faced with the consequences. Unwanted pregnancy puts a stop to every margin of progress you are making. Is abortion a new brand of sin? If you having sex, you shouldn’t be so judgemental to throw a pregnant teenager under the bus just because a condom saved your from walking in her shoes.
One of the most ridiculous scenes which is unfortunately common in Hollywood movies is when a mother sees her daughter vomiting and she asks “who is responsible?” Now I can’t think of many reasons why a lady should be asked that question and pregnancy is just one. Moreover, I have many answers to that question and Obinna the son of Mazi Okoro isn’t one of them. Vomiting never equated to pregnancy. Stop the stereotype!
I understand how we like to shy away away from the topic of sex due to “our culture”. Bullshit! Actually I don’t understand. The lack of honest discuss among us as a people on such an important issue leaves the ignorant ones vulnerable. Parents are wary of discussing sex with their kids. Heck! You are not even supposed to know what it means, talkless of knowing the doctrines of kama sutra.
This exaggerated pretense is the reason why people replace sex with “that thing” or any slang that placate their ears when communicating. To every African parent, their kids are virgins and to most kids, their parents are learners. This is because we are an acclaimed religious society so everyone wants to act saintly but here is the irony, the most common sin among religious folks is sex so why the hypocrisy? Know that if you won’t discuss sex with your kids, the street will do. Our institutional spiritualization of everything at the expense of common sense and logic has made us a national joke. People will have sex no matter how much you preach against premarital sex. Like Okechukwu Ofili recommends, while advising youths against premarital sex, give them condoms too. I believe they will exhaust it in no time.
Invariably, it is only pertinent that in a world where sex is basic, pregnancy will occur. Now some of these pregnancies are unwanted and the world shouldn’t decide for a woman what she wants to do with her body. Sometimes, a mutually satisfying sex between two beautuful lovers could lead to an unplanned pregnancy. Perhaps both lovers are students or jobless or their reality cant accomodate a new born. There are many narratives.
Because of our stubbornness and self righteousness, abortion is yet to be legalised in Nigeria. That has led to high mortality rate because since qualified doctors don’t have the permit to carry it out, quacks at the top floor of the old story building on the next street would be please to make 6,000 naira on your head – albeit, on most cases damaging the womb or killing the lady.
This is an important subject to brush up in a world where teenagers are faced with making critical life decisions and women are told what to do with their body by men who know nothing about the weight of pregnancy nor the biological changes a woman undergoes during this period. It is patriarchal mentality like this that made Communist Dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceaus make abortion in Romania illegal in 1966 for the reason that “anyone who avoids having children is a deserter who abandons the laws of national continuity”. What Nobody asked him was if it was the nation that got pregnant or if the nation will cater for the kid if the mother cant? To make you understand the nature of the person asking Romanians to have more children even if unwanted here he is –
He built palaces for himself while alternately brutalizing and neglecting his citizens.
Abandoning agriculture in favor of manufacturing, he forced many of the nation’s rural dwellers into unheated apartment buildings.
He gave government positions to forty family members including his wife, Elena, who required forty homes and a commensurate supply of fur and jewels.
Madame Ceausescu, known officially as the Best Mother Romania Could Have, was not particularly maternal. “The worms never get satisfied, regardless of how much food you give them,” she said when Romanians complained about the food shortages brought on by her husband’s mismanagement. She had her own children bugged to ensure their loyalty.
This is no different from society and our leaders in Africa. It is why you mention abortion to an African parent and the next word you hear is “abomination”. Meanwhile, the child they forced you to birth, would end up your sole responsibility with not even as much of parental care or basic education from society or the government.
On March 7th, 2016, at a town hall in Detroit, Fox moderator Bret Baier asked the Democratic Presidential Candidates “Can you name a single circumstance at any point in a pregnancy in which you would be OK with abortion being illegal?”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had this to say – It’s not a question of me being okay. This will—thank you for the question, but I happen to believe—and let me be very clear about it. I know not everybody here will agree with me. I happen to believe that it is wrong for the government to be telling a woman what to do with her own body.
Baier later posed the same question to Hillary Clinton. “Do you think a child should have any legal rights or protections before its born?” he said. “Or do you think there should not be any restrictions on any abortions at any stage in a pregnancy?” Hillary responded thus – Under Roe v. Wade, which is rooted in the Constitution, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family in accordance with their faith, with their doctor.
It’s not much of a right if it is totally limited and constrained.
So I think we have to continue to stand up for a woman’s right to make these decisions…..
So what do our law makers have against abortion? Why does society see abortion as the greatest crime of all? Why are our parents deaf to our opinion on our own pregnacies? Abortion is a sensitive issue but the world still dabbles into this controversial arena but I, being pro-choice maintain that a woman should be allowed to decide for herself. I know of women who went ahead to give birth against their wishes and finally dumped the child upon arrival. How that child grows, nobody cares. If he manages to survive in the street, society will pay for it if he turns to arms. According to studies, these two factors—childhood poverty and a single-parent household—are among the strongest predictors that a child will have a criminal future. Growing up in a single-parent home roughly doubles a child’s propensity to commit crime. So does having a teenage mother. Another study has shown that low maternal education is the single most powerful factor leading to criminality. In other words, the very factors that drove millions of American women to have an abortion also seemed to predict that their children, had they been born, would have led unhappy and possibly criminal lives.
This is a global dispute and religion has put many people on edge with respect to abortion. Religious people see it as murder. However, I cringe when religious people castigate abortion but have premarital sex when the same religion condemns both. Please life starts at birth not conception otherwise your first birthday would be 3 months after your birth. You don’t expect a victim of rape, incest, abuse or a young woman unsure of her world to keep her pregnancy. People forget that economics affect to a large scale our every decision making. The world don’t need another China or India. The earth is overpopulated with people government can’t cater for and children parents can’t raise. In a society of high poverty rate, high illiteracy level, gross unemployment, large scale homelessness, it is only trite that a child born from this class would be a societal menace. Spare me the talk of God will provide for the child – let him provide for the mother first. He is not unfaithful! If everyone give birth to only children they can raise, the world will be a better place.
In the US Supreme court ruling in Roe v. Wade, the majority opinion written by Justice Harry Blackmun spoke specifically to the would-be mother’s predicament:
The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent…. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future.
Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it.
The Supreme Court gave voice to what the mothers in Romania and Scandinavia—and elsewhere—had long known: when a woman does not want to have a child, she usually has good reason. She may be unmarried or in a bad marriage. She may consider herself too poor to raise a child. She may think her life is too unstable or unhappy, or she may think that her drinking or drug use will damage the baby’s health. She may believe that she is too young or hasn’t yet received enough education. She may want a child badly but in a few years, not now. For any of a hundred reasons, she may feel that she cannot provide a home environment that is conducive to raising a healthy and productive child.
In the series, Orange is the New Black, Carrie Black used the book “Freakonomics” to encourage Tiffany Doggett who was mourning her six aborted children. The book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner used the principles of economics to explain how abortion reduced crime in Europe. Chapter 4 of the book is titled – Where Have All The Criminals Gone?
Black explained to Doggett that in the 1990s, crime fell spectacularly and the book attributes that to the passing of Roe v. Wade [which legalized abortion in the whole of USA]. The abortions that occurred after Roe v. Wade were children that weren’t wanted. Children who if their mother’s had been forced to have them would have grown up poor and neglected and abused – the three most important ingredients when making a felon but they were never born. So, 20 years later, when they would have been at their prime crime age, they weren’t there and the crime rate dropped dramatically.
Black took it home by stating that Doggette was a meth-head, white-trash piece of shit and her children, had they been born would have been meth-head white-trash pieces of shit. So by terminating those pregnancies, she spared society the scourge of her offspring.
If you are a parent or sibling or friend, please help victims of childhood pregnancy walk through their decisions. It is their life, be understanding rather than judgemental. Like Black said, a good mother does what is best for her children and maybe terminating the pregnancy might just be the best for the children. If you can, please champion the case for legalized abortion so our young women would stop going into the hands of butchers for abortion when we have qualified doctors in the country.
Please do share your views on abortion and if you have an experience to share, do tell.
Peace, love and spaghetti