This is a reply to A. Abimbola Adelakun article in the punch newspaper (online) on September 19, 2013 titled “Rochas’ abortion law should stay".
There are a few things about A. Abimbola Adelakun article on September 19, 2013 titled “Rochas’ abortion law should stay” that has compelled me to write this response. Large parts of it contained disturbing language, sentiments and soundbites that have long been used by professional and career pro-abortion campaigners to advocate for a procedure that even by her acknowledgement has a terrible physical and psychological effect on women. It hovered around the peripheral issues concerning the politics of abortion playing out in most countries, appealed to emotion and even delved into religion whilst expertly ignoring the “mighty elephant in the room”. This has always been the “modus operandi” of career abortionist.
Before I go ahead to deconstruct her arguments, I think it is important to deal with this “proverbial elephant”. When it comes to abortion, it is sometimes necessary to leave the politics out and deal with the substance. What we are talking about here is the Sanctity of Human Life, the rights accorded it and at what stage. Let me state three facts at this point. Firstly, human life begins from the moment of conception. None of us can point to any other moment other than conception and say “that is when I began to be me”. Abimbola did not tell us when human life actually begins. As human beings, it is important not to deny that our physical development at our present age is not the same when we were teenagers, adolescents, infants, babies or foetuses. Even the word Foetus which comes from the Latin word Fetura –ae, f means a young brood or offspring. We all started (me and you) as one. ‘We are who we are now, physically, because we developed from what we used to be’. Once conception has taken place and an embryo is formed, if you give it time, let’s say 9 months or 28 years, the only other thing it could be is an infant or adult respectively. It cannot be something else, ever!
Secondly, in a civilized society, Human Life should be preserved, protected and nurtured from the point of conception to its natural end. Finally, every human life is bestowed with certain inalienable ‘rights’, the foremost amongst them: THE RIGHT TO LIFE. Any argument that doesn’t address these three premises directly would be begging the question. This was what made her article the more frustrating because at no point did she make any attempt to address any of these which is very crucial to the moral issue surrounding abortion, but was happy to dance around its politics –left vs. right, liberals vs. conservatives. Let’s forget this ideological label for once and face moral question of abortion. Being prolife is much of a leftist position as it is a conservative stance. It was Medhi Hassan who once wrote in an article for the Newstatesman: here
“Abortion is one of those rare political issues on which left and right seem to have swapped ideologies: right-wingers talk of equality, human rights and “defending the innocent”, while left-wingers fetishise “choice”, selfishness and unbridled individualism.
“My body, my life, my choice.” Such rhetoric has always left me perplexed. Isn’t socialism about protecting the weak and vulnerable, giving a voice to the voiceless? Who is weaker or more vulnerable than the unborn child? Which member of our society needs a voice more than the mute baby in the womb?
Yes, a woman has a right to choose what to do with her body – but a baby isn’t part of her body. The 24-week-old foetus can’t be compared with an appendix, a kidney or a set of tonsils; it makes no sense to dismiss it as a “clump of cells” or a “blob of protoplasm”. However, my motive for writing this column is not merely to revisit ancient arguments, or kick off a philosophical debate on the distinctions between socialism (with its emphasis on equality, solidarity and community) and liberalism (with its focus on individual freedom, autonomy and choice) …”
Let’s deal with the question of “choice” that is always bandied about by career abortionist. It might sound counter intuitive, but I am all for choice (i.e I am prochoice) and individuals acting freely, but as I have mentioned on another forum “When the term a ‘right to choose’ is used, it speaks to its very essence: the question of freedom. Even common law grants us this very essential faculty, but as in common law, this freedom is not absolute. This usually becomes clear when it involves two or more people. As a result, society has a mechanism to ensure the balancing of the very exercise of this freedom. To choose implies that there is more than one alternative. “So, if I am free to choose from more than one alternative why stop me from choosing in this case?” you may ask. Well, society has the responsibility to balance rights in order to ensure a sense of justice, equity, but more crucially to all facets of human society; to a sense of what is Right. Make no mistake about this, when a woman is pregnant, the ‘rights’ of two (or more in the case of twins…) individuals are at stake.
Abimbola’s failure to address these facts, but instead portray everyone with a prolife persuasion as a religious nutter” doesn’t fly. You don’t need to have a faith to recognize the importance of protecting life. This is a subject that bothers on natural law and as such should imprint in the conscience of all people whether you are Theist, Atheist or Non-Theist. One of the world’s most renowned and celebrated Atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens was known to be very much prolife as with a lot of other people with no faith. So, let’s get this straight, Abortion for whatever reason is an intrinsically evil act, faith or no faith.
An unwanted Pregnancy is not the end of the world. There are families out there prepared to adopt the child and take care of the baby should the mother be in a position not be able to. I cringed and almost leapt out of my skin when I read this in her article:
“And to those who make the banal argument of if-your-parents-did-not-give-birth-to-you-would-you-be-here, I ask in return, “Since your birth, what good have you done the planet?”
Abimbola, maybe you might not have done any good to the planet, I for one have and I am sure a lot of others have. While her comment that “Catholics are already ahead of the Vatican dictates” is about as silly a statement as you will ever come across. So, because some (very important qualification) Catholics use contraception despite the church’s teaching does not in the same vain make Catholics ahead of the Church because some Catholics ‘lie’ or ‘steal’. To be frank, I am not sure that comment deserved the dignity of a reply.
And on the question of Maternal Mortality Rate, abortion is not a medical treatment and there is no evidence to show that it saves life. It is known in medical parlance that “Abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother”. On the other, hand experience has shown that it leaves women in a worse state than they were before the procedure.
It is important to clarify that there is no correlation between strict abortion laws and the rate of maternal mortality (MMR). It, on the other hand, depends on the quality and accessibility of healthcare to pregnant women. If you look at the chat (courtesy of the CIA) on maternal mortality rate (MMR) worldwide, you will notice that countries with poor healthcare system (African countries) top the chat. Countries like Poland, Malta, Lithuania, Ireland and so many others have a lower MMR than even the US or UK (with liberal abortion laws) with their very restrictive abortion laws. Chile with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world has a low MMR (almost comparable to that of the UK and US). Taking the Chile example, it was noted that the MMR has undergone a tremendous reduction over the last 50 years, despite the fact that it has continually tightened its abortion law over the last 25 years. It showed that MMR fell irrespective of the change in law. I think this is the point Gov. Rochas Okorocha should reflect on and as with education and other social infrastructure, healthcare especially for pregnant women (planned or unplanned) should be of pristine quality and easily accessible.
In the world today there is a momentum and a ground swell of popular opinion going against the abortion mindset. In the state of Texas (where Abimbola presently resides) a new law restricting abortion and which could lead to the closure of a lot of the clinics was recently passed into law.
Anyone who has seen a sonogram or seen when babies struggle for life during an abortion procedure will never deny the humanity of an unborn baby. That is why wealthy abortion providers are prepared to fight at any cost to prevent a change in law that will require women seeking to procure an abortion to sit through the ultrasound scan of the baby first, to prevent them having a change of heart. There have been numerous cases of women opting against having abortion after viewing the ultrasound scan. We know of the case of Abby Johnson (who herself had 2 abortions in her early 20’s), a planned parenthood Director in Texas who became prolife when viewing a baby struggle for life during an abortion procedure. There is also the story of Dr Bernard Nathanson, a doctor who was known to have carried out more abortion than any other doctor in his base of Newyork City. He went through a change of heart when viewing on an ultrasonic scan, the baby he was trying to abort, evade his clinical equipments. He vowed, from that day, never to carry out an abortion again. Norma McCorvey, popularly referred by her pseudonym of ‘Jane Roe’ of “Roe vs Wade”, the infamous supreme court ruling that paved the way for the legalization of abortion in the US, is now a prolife activist and unsuccessfully sought to have a judicial review of the 1973 judgment. These cases are replicate worldwide and are increasingly becoming the norm. This is the reason why a lot of abortion providers are struggling stop the law from changing and remain in business. Why would Nigeria then seek to be moving towards abortion when the rest of the world is trying to move the other way.
Contrary to Abimbola’s belief, opinion polls consistently show that more women are against abortion than men the world over. In fact a You-Gov poll conducted last year in the UK showed that 49 per cent of women, compared to 24 per cent of men, support a reduction in the abortion limit. The “march for life” that is held regularly around the world is overwhelming dominated my women of all ages.
As an indigene of Imo State, I would advice Gov. Rochas Okorocha to listen to the voice of his people and to do away with such dehumanising, vile and obnoxious law. He should strive to use his mandate to provide for and protect all human life to be best of his abilities from the “womb to the tomb”. After all he was put there by them to be their servant as he regularly reminds all in the media.