MY LORDS, ABORTION SHOULD BE CRIMINALIZED

“I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘abortion’, because it is a war against the child. A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘murder’ by the mother herself”- Mother Teresa.

Every female has the responsibility of fertilization as set forth by nature, once she conceived she should not deny it. Abortion is the worst thing a woman can do against human dignity. It is a crime against life.

The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has shown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience, said Mother Teresa.

Life is sacred.  Abortion touches on our deepest values and basic beliefs. It clashes with our culture, our religion and the human nature of man. Medical practitioners and mothers should not murder an unborn child in the name of abortion.

Abortion is incompatible with the right to life. It is the deprivation of both the mother and the unborn child’s right to life. It is a threat to the mother’s health. During the process, despite the use of anaesthesia, 97% of women report severe pain, and if a more powerful drug is used, she could suffer dangerous side effects. Many complications are common during/after the process.

A report from UNICEF states that 250,000 women die every year because of abortion. 75,000 of them die of self-inflicted abortions, 75,000 die of convulsions and the other 100,000 die of infections in the uterus. Abortion does not only lead to more fetal murder but also to more mothers’ death.

The right of protection of life is guaranteed by the International Declaration on Human Right. Abortion discriminates contrary to the declaration. It has taken the lives of more than millions and thousands of unborn infants. It is absolute torture for the baby; no precaution is used to prevent the baby from pain.

Some people think of abortion as a form of contraceptive, abortion is the murder of a child, an innocent soul. It is not a measure of avoiding pregnancy; it is rather a way of terminating pregnancy.

The Nigerian law on abortion is well captured and stipulated under section 229 of the Criminal Code [CAP 77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria] that; any woman who procures her own miscarriage through whatever means is guilty of a felony and is liable to 7 years imprisonment.

‘Abortion is murder’. It is indirect defiance of the commonly accepted idea of the sanctity of human life. It takes away the right to life of the unborn child and endangers the mother’s life; it exposes her to numerous health complications or even death (in most cases). It contravenes our moral and religious views; as is stated in EXODUS 20:13 that “Thou shall not murder”. Similarly, Islam treats abortion as murder, having common punishment and penalties. Alas, abortion should be criminalized so as to stop another way of unjustifiable killing.

My Lords, let us listen again to the words of Mother Teresa: if a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me- there is nothing in between.

 IT SHOULD NOT.

 

 ‘’77% of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant’’.  Anonymous.

Medicine is more of a negotiated terrain between physicians and patients than has been realized. That is, the ability of patients, even female patients, to communicate their needs to physicians and the ability of the physicians to listen. The duty of self-policing and a physicians’ fears of prosecution  for abortion has created dilemmas for doctors who at times compromised their duties to patients in order to carry out their duties to the state.

‘’I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species, we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred’’. Caitlin Moran.

Criminalization of abortion is incompatible with women’s rights to life, health, sexual freedom, non-discrimination, a right to bodily integrity, and equality and privacy, to be free from torture and from cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. Criminal penalties for abortion affect and take away the right of women to control their own reproduction. ‘’Prosecuting women for a procedure that is safe and should be included in comprehensive health services is cruel and a misuse of the criminal law’’, Vivanco said.

Research has shown that criminalizing abortion does not reduce the rate of abortion, but rather, affects the safety of the procedure as restrictions breeds unsafe abortions. According to official report, an estimated 1.25 million induced abortions occurred in Nigeria in 2012, equivalent to a rate of 33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-49. About 212,000 women were treated for complications of unsafe abortion, representing a treatment rate of 5.6 per 1,000 women of reproductive age, and an  additional 285,000 experienced serious health consequences but did not receive the treatment they needed.

Abortion is a decision that belongs to pregnant women, without penalty or inference from  the government or  anybody else. Many situations made enduring pregnancy unbearable to women.  It is only natural that any pregnancy resulting from rape or incest would include both physical and psychological trauma. Would it be fair to penalize an abortion undertaken by such an individual given common consequences experienced by rape and incest survivors?

Laws should not be used to scare, shame  or imprison a woman for ending a pregnancy. In regions where most women live under restrictive abortion laws, the incidences of abortion is more encouraged than in regions where women live under liberal abortion laws. Although decriminalization of abortion is not a magic bullet found to have reduced the rates of abortions, it however does make them safer for it is an important component in decreasing maternal mortality rates, which in the long run, the law seeks to achieve.

International Human Rights treaties require governments to respect women’s reproductive and other  human rights. The government of a state should align its laws with international obligations and conventions such as the Elimination Of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

My Lords, I am not oblivious of the fact that women should be ‘’personally responsible’’ for having sex, or that they should consider that the repercussions of any sexual relationship they’re going to have is a child, but criminalizing abortion affects the safety of the procedure, encourages the incidences of abortions, and the decision to carry a pregnancy to term , or to abort is a woman’s deeply personal decisions to make about her life and health  alongside those who care about her, and not that of the state or a prosecutor.

At its fundamental, a policy that restricts abortion is one that forces women into maternity. Placing a blanket ban on something that is a PERSONAL choice, should be left alone.


After reading this session, do you think abortion should be criminalised or not?