Sitting in a chapel as a nine years old girl, the Seminarian walks in for the catechism class. He stands and stares at us and then begins telling this story.
Armed robbers invaded a block of apartments. Simon and his mum were alone in their own flat as the father had traveled for a business meeting. They were going into every flat in the block and robbing residents of their valuables. When the robbers came to Simon’s adjacent neighbors flat, they asked for the father after they had collected all they could find. On seeing that the father was not giving them as much cash as they wanted, they shot him on the spot.
Simon and his mum heard the gunshot that followed the conversations in their neighbor’s house. At this time, they were too afraid to open their door. The robbers on getting to their house broke down the door and came into their house. They saw little Simon crawled up under the dining table and the mother was not in sight. They dragged Simon out from his hiding place and inquired about his mum’s whereabouts. He instantly lied that she was in church for the night vigil. The robber then let go of him and searched the house to find what to steal. They eventually left the house.
At this moment, everyone in the chapel was almost in tears and afraid of such a gruesome story. So, the Seminarian asked, ” do you think Simon committed a sin by lying about his mother’s whereabouts? Do you also think that if he showed where his mother is, and she gets killed by the robbers, did he contribute to her murder? To this he added, considering the consequences of losing his mother at that tender age? “
In 15 minutes, there was no single response from the class of about seventeen children. He finished up by saying, “always choose the lesser evil”. That stuck in my head till date. Now I am grown, have made decisions, loved, cried, broken down and rose back up. In the midst of all these, I am still a strong advocate for choosing the lesser evil.
Bringing this down to the issue of abortion, I would love to opine that instead of bringing a child into the world without preparation, choosing the lesser evil would help solve some of our problems. It is okay for people to choose “abortion” in place of birthing a child in “wrong” situations especially in Nigeria. Let’s talk about this.
In Nigeria, abortion is legal only when performed to save a woman’s life. What this implies that abortion is illegal in Nigeria. It will be good to know that three out of four pregnancies are unwanted. Pregnancy can be unwanted if carrying the pregnancy to term will result in birthing the baby in “wrong situations”.
Most often, people would think that the reason for unwanted pregnancy is financially inclined. Let us not forget that the birth of a child is infused with emotional, mental, psychological as well as financial demands. There are millions of cases where the birth of a child results in some sort of stagnation in the parent’s career.
There are cases where families are hostile if the woman in question is not married, a situation predominant in Nigeria. Being pregnant and unmarried in a typical Nigerian university or secondary school is also saddled with a lot of unfortunate situations. The responsibility that comes with birthing a child is in itself overwhelming for the people who are ready and prepared for it. Imagine going through all it comes with when you not then prepared for it. Now you know that there are many “wrong” situations that could make pregnancy unwanted.
What do you know about Unwanted Pregnancy and Mental Health?
According to Doctors for Choice, the incidence of mental health problems and suicidal ideas is high in pregnancy. Till date, suicide is still in the top 4 causes of maternal deaths. It is also a known fact that mental health problems in pregnant women and mothers are mainly socially determined.
Some of the risk factors include:
- Poverty and lack
- Violence (this includes domestic violence)
- Lack of emotional and practical support during and after pregnancy
- Excessive work or stress
All of these risk factors add up to situations that can be classified as “wrong” hence, makes the pregnancy unwanted.
Talking about pregnancy and mental health, the risk of poor mental health or say suicide increases in teenage, unplanned pregnancy, unmarried status or recent divorce, unemployment and difficult access to safe abortion service. Where there is a choice of abortion, that is, where it is legal, there is usually no risk of abortion. What this shows is that limited or restricted access to abortion services raises the risk of depression and subsequent suicide in pregnancy.
Another question that comes to mind is, why would we think that pregnancy can lead to depression? (escalated sadness if we try to make it sound mild)
The modern world is full of challenges which everyone faces on a daily basis. The whole ‘wahala’ is encountered on the path to becoming better and better. This, I think is the road to self-actualization.
The need for self-esteem, self-respect and healthy, positive feelings derived from admiration is a fundamental need for self actualization. To some people like me, this is gotten through a career. To some others, it is from family validation. The chances of achieving these tend to be eliminated for some people through an unwanted pregnancy. So, what am I saying?
If a person does not feel fulfilled and satisfied with their life, there is a high chance of expressing their dissatisfaction through depression. This often results in suicide or some other mental and physical problems if not handled properly.
More so, legalizing abortion only when it puts the life of the mother in physical/medical danger as they claim is not the only danger there is. The mental danger is also a danger which the mother of the child and other people around her can go through. What about the social danger of saddling a kid or teenager with the responsibility of raising a child simply because it doesn’t pose a danger for them physically/medically.
Have we as a society analyzed that things would have been a bit better if people were allowed, with government support to only give birth to children they can take care of? So, to be fair, it is okay to demand that some other risk factors that pregnancy brings should be considered as dangers too.
Illegal abortion in Nigeria has also contributed to more than 40% of childbirth complications. Some of these complications would have led to mortality if not for the intervention of our devastating medical system.
Reports have also shown that unsafe abortions are a major reason Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate – 1,100 deaths per 100,000 live births – is one the world’s highest. This death rate we can eliminate if people can get the abortions done in well-equipped places and by qualified personnel.
Does this mean that we are saying it is okay to have indiscriminate sex all around the place? That’s your choice. But, as a society, we have to put checks on what can be controlled. Human emotions, actions, and reactions are something that cannot be bargained on, especially if it has to do with sexuality. In other words, why don’t we put checks on what we can easily control?
So, in all, it is about time the country and government become less judgmental, leaving religious beliefs aside and begin to actually make decisions that really look out for its people.
Everyone is entitled to how they want to live their life. If it is not okay and convenient to have a child, if you cannot beat your chest and scream on top of the roof that you are ready for the child, ‘den no do am abeg’. Do not go and bring a child into this world and begin to put the responsibility of raising the child on the public. Let us not forget that even the Good Book says you shall be judged on how you were responsible for your offspring.
So, choose abortion, it is a lesser evil.
We will really appreciate your thoughts on topic. Please ask your questions or leave a comment below.