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?

13 thoughts on “The debate over abortion and contraception in Africa

    1. Ha, that’s very kind of you! Much appreciated. I have been well, thank you. I started working full time late last year and by the time I finish daily tasks, I just want to read and rest my head 🙂

      Hope you are well too. Fingers crossed I will find a way to rearrange my schedule soon.
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “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.” THIS!!! Me and my cousin were talking about this yesterday! We complain and try to resist ‘colonial ways’/ Western ways, BUT everything about us in Africa is because of the West – monogamous marriages encouraged by Christianity – which the white man brought, the clothes & shoes we wear are from the West, the cars we drive, our imitated foreign accents on the radio, drugs in hospitals are manufactured abroad, the books most Africans read are Western – the list is endless. We couldn’t care less to invest in research to investigate what would work for our people and our unique environments (people in power are too busy squandering the money), yet we pick and choose what we want to take from the West – esp when it involves policing women’s bodies and denying people (Eg: children, LGBTQ community) their human rights. I really wonder if things will ever change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Don’t mind them. The lady advocating for no abortion/no contraceptives is also backed up by the same people we said we are resisting – confused people trying to drag everyone with them.

      BTW thought of you yesterday reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith – good read!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fola, I too am Catholic and, personally, do not believe in abortion. However, I am for freedom of choice because I know that without abortion, many women would be driven to risk their lives and go to the streets for backroom abortions and that is worse. It was a battle here for many years until a doctor Henry Morgentaler, set up a clinic in Quebec, Canada in 1970 and provided abortions for free. He finally won the battle in the courts and now it is possible for a woman to have a safe abortion if she so wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leslie.

      That backroom abortions is what is available in Nigeria, almost every week there is news on one abortion gone wrong – it is terrible. Oh and in some parts of Nigeria people stay in hiding, carry baby to full term then left by road side dead or alive.

      I totally agree with you views, it is that thought that we have a choice that people are fighting for. Kudos to Dr Morgentaler!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This debate will continue for like forever Fola. My take on Contraceptive is that it helps to save lives especially for women as it enables them to rest in between births. Apart from this it also helps families to have the number of children they can care for. Instead of needless abortions, women and girls who are sexually active should use Contraceptives. From my faith perspective as a Christian abstinence is key but not everyone will follow this rule or hold body as we say in pidgin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bisi. I hear you. I know, the case of abortion will forever be a hot topic – I only wish Nigeria keep accurate data, then it will be easy to show how prevalent this is in our communities – we might as well make it safe.


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