The debate over abortion and contraception in Africa

The unwritten rule that we need to agree with fellow Nigerian women or unlook and shake head when the argument do not have head or tail. Well, in the case of safe abortion and the need for more education on the use of contraception, I found Ms Obianuju Ekeocha points of view very interesting (let’s just put it that way).

Ms Ekeocha says Nigerian women do not need abortion/contraception, all that they want is food and safe drinking water. She argues that western countries subsiding contraception on the continent is Ideological Colonisation – learning everyday.

I saw a clip online somewhere of women with placards chanting they don’t need abortion or contraception backing Ms Ekeocha claims – unbelievable.

Ms Ekeocha lives in Ireland and is a devout Catholic –  that explains quite a lot. Even with that it is well known that hundreds of Irish travel to the UK and Europe every year for abortion due to various reasons. 

The irony of this is that while abortion is illegal in Nigeria, abortion is actually still accessible even in small towns, they carry high risk as they are performed in an unregulated environment so we have many unfortunate cases of needless deaths.

Wouldn’t it be great that we have safe and regulated clinics where people can go without intimidation?

Abortion tablets are readily available in Nigeria markets – people self medicate, many of these drugs on the market are generic and entered into the market through back doors without passing through drug regulating body, NAFDAC.

My niece’s roommate was only 17 when she got pregnant in the university, she bled for days before she was persuaded to go home so her parents could look after her. My niece knew it was abortion because the drug sachet bought from a chemist was found in a bin.

A good friend of mine at 23 also took abortion tablets that was readily available on the market, she nearly lost her life. She stayed at the hospital for over a year as the drug did a lot of damage to her internally. She was survived but lost her hearing and started limping afterwards.

Wouldn’t it be great if abortion tablets can only be bought in medical outlets that are monitored?

The argument about western imposing their ideals of contraception on us Africans does not add up. Does that mean that a married woman can only be intimate with their husband/partner to procreate? Even when people preach abstinence, what we have on our streets is a good indicator of what has happened behind doors.

Talking about side effects of IUD, Implanon and other contraception methods – sure, which drug doesn’t come with likely side effect warnings? Isn’t this why we have so many options so people can choose what works best for them.

Admittedly, contraceptive options in Nigeria are quite few, some are not tested properly – if we have a problem with options presented by the west, why can’t we invest in research to determine the best for our people.

Isn’t the purpose of abortion/contraception to prevent unwanted births? Why would anyone want to live in a world where women are forced to carry to terms pregnancies they do not want?

Abandoning children because of disability or accusation of witchcraft is not unusual in the south of Nigeria, some as young as 2 years old. If we are a country with such a moral high responsibility to populated the world, why do we have communities alienating their children once they had them?

Interesting also is the fact that the argument is all about why we must having children especially in a country where fathers are allowed to walk away with no one imposing child support on them – where is the child’s right?