Many Nigerian women who abort their babies do it discreetly, mostly because the act is viewed with extreme distaste in Nigeria’s society and not necessarily because they are aware of the legal status of abortion in Nigeria. They visit native doctors, quack doctors, and private clinics or even consume weird concoctions recommended by friends all for the sake of keeping their parents or family members in the dark.
But what happens when something goes wrong and the secret is aired, will you or those involved in the clandestine act go free? Very unlikely. Abortion is not only illegal in Nigeria but it also attracts a heavy prison sentence of 14 years for the provider of abortion and 7 years for those who seek abortion. Only in cases of complicated pregnancies where the woman’s life is at risk will abortion go unpunished.
However, despite the ban on abortion in Nigeria, the rate of unwanted pregnancies that are terminated annually is still very high. And as a good number of these abortions are carried out through unsafe methods and without proper aftercare, complications occur that often lead to serious health issues or even death. This begs the question, is the illegality of abortion in Nigeria not doing more harm than good?
Should Abortion Be Legalized On All Grounds?
Currently, hundreds of Alabamians and many other US citizens are protesting against the recent anti-abortion laws stipulated in Alabama.
Doctors who perform abortion in Alabama will now spend anywhere from 10 to 99 years in prison if caught. The only exception is when the abortion is done to save the woman’s life but besides that, abortion is seen as a felony act. Incest or rape victims who became pregnant as a result of their traumatic experience are not allowed to have an abortion either.
“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in,”
claims senator Clyde Chambliss in defense of the law. However, many Alabamians are refusing to swallow that anti-abortion pill that their republican rulers are forcing down their throat.
“You don’t have to raise that child. You don’t have to carry that child. You don’t have to provide for that child. You don’t have to do anything for that child, but yet you want to make the decision for that woman,”
argued state senator Vivian Davis.
And she couldn’t have been more succinct. Her opinion syncs perfectly with that of the 2017 ‘safe abortion’ advocates in Nigeria.
“Safe abortion, my right; safe abortion, my choice. I say it loud, ‘cause I’m proud of it. Safe abortion, my right!”
Unsafe abortion is the major cause of the high rates of maternal mortality in Nigeria and these ‘safe abortion’ advocates in collaboration with the National Coalition for productive justice seeks to make accessible, safe methods of abortion. But Nigerian law remains an obstacle they have to contend with.
How fair or sensible is that? If the idea behind the banning of abortion is about protecting the sanctity of life, is the law not eating its own tail by denying rape victims or parents who can’t financially afford the arrival of a baby from having an abortion?
When these women take an unsafe route to abort their babies and die in the process, what then? Won’t the lawmakers be causing more unnecessary deaths by making safe procedures for abortion inaccessible to these women?
Not to talk of bringing a child into the world that will become just another beggar on the streets of Nigeria who receives no welfare from the government. How valuable or important is the life of that child to our lawmakers who make reference to the ‘sanctity of life’ when defending these abortion laws?
There’s really a need for the rethinking and readjustment of the laws against abortion in Nigeria.