Over the years, there have been morality battles on if abortion should be accepted or not. In Nigeria, abortions are illegal due to different reasons, with the main cause attributed to our various religious beliefs. The strong belief that, it is morally wrong to intentionally and directly kill an innocent human being, as it’s an injustice to the unborn child.
But with all moral battles, there’s always a different perspective.
You may hold anti- abortion views maybe due to your religious, moral, cultural and personal standards and beliefs but I believe that in order for this agenda of yours to carry weight and be sustainable, you must be willing to shift direction and expand your agenda.
Okay let me break this down!
You need to support policies and programs that empower people, so that they do not end up in compromising situations where they are forced to have abortions.
You can’t be anti- abortions but refuse for us to teach sex-education to children and teenagers, because if they are not taught, they lack the appropriate knowledge that empowers them to make informed decisions about their sex life.
Also, you can’t be anti- abortion and restrict us from educating and accessing birth controls and contraceptives, since making these services available allow women to ensure they get pregnant at the right conditions.
Do you support and advocate for adoption and frown upon economic injustice? Keeping in mind that the poorer one gets, the more likely they are to choose an abortion; as we are made aware that one of the two most common reasons women choose abortion is because they cannot afford a child (Alan Guttmacher Institute) .
What are your beliefs regarding single parents or children born out of wedlock? Do you shame and stigmatize them or create a healthy space for them to live their truth?
Many people, who identify as pro-life, tend to focus solely on the birth of the child, and not the well-being of that child which signifies to me that they are more pro-birth than pro-life. If one is pro-life, I believe that they should focus not on just restricting women reproductive rights but also take interest on the well-being of all living beings regardless of who they are and how different they are from you.
There are thousands of children being abused with some roaming the streets unattended and many dying from malnutrition and living in abject poverty; so as you fight for one to be born, you must also protect people rights to live a full life.
This means that you do not need to support abortion for you to fully grasp the reason why there is a need for health care centers that provide these services in a clean and healthy environment with the right personals; as countless research have shown that the lack of proper abortion services, increases the mortality rate as women are forced to patronize back street abortion clinics.
It is because of this that I believe that it is a greater injustice to deprive women of access to these services especially when we are fully aware of the repercussions of such actions.
And I hate to view the world from the lens where many of us believe that people who uphold anti-abortion views desperately want to control a woman’s body and future; by forcing women who have unwanted pregnancies to live with the consequences of their actions as a kind of punishment for what they have done.
But I will be naïve to believe that this train of thought is foreign and does not exist; as there are people who uphold this unhealthy idea that’s detrimental to both the health of the unborn child and mother.
Tackling abortion in Africa especially Nigeria requires that we look past the normal interventions suggested by the West but look within to create solutions to mirror our own realities.
A lady I believe that’s doing great work in this regard is the On- Air Presenter Dr Yolanda N George – David. She runs a foundation– Aunt Landa Bethel Foundation -which partners with local clinics, where they believe young women go to carry out illegal abortions.
Her foundation informs the doctor to first refer them to the Foundation before conducting the procedure. The foundation trains them on skill acquisition and provides them with a monthly stipend; however before the girl decides if she wants to keep the child, they ensure that they have had an intimate discussion with her to let her know that she will get all the support she desires if she keeps the baby.
This approach by Dr. Yolanda is a practical approach to combat abortion. She recognized that people were less likely to carry a baby if they didn’t have the right funds or skills that enable them make money in order to carter to the need of the child.
These are strategies to combat abortions that should be studied and replicated across different states especially in our Religious centres- as pro-life advocates need to expand their agenda to tackle the underlying issues on why people have abortions and also address the morality of pro-life.
So tell me what you think about abortion in Africa and ways you believe we can tackle it. I know this is a delicate conversation to have as we all have our morals and beliefs regarding it but I believe the way forward is to bring it to the forefront and engage in an open honest conversation.