We are pro-life – but only when we are ready for kids
I don’t think I’ve met a Nigerian who doesn’t frown upon abortion. But we don’t applaud the women who choose to be single mothers either. Either way, the girls are seen as wayward.
Pregnancy: big fear
There are few girls who would want to get pregnant outside of wedlock on purpose. In fact, ask the average girl and she will tell you that unintended pregnancies are her biggest fear. Especially if she is sexually active or in a relationship.
Yet we frown upon abortion for both religious and cultural reasons. But we need to turn to abortions when the alternative is to have an unplanned baby. In fact, the very same people who would condemn a girl for aborting will turn around to ask why she chose to have a baby with a man she knew would resent her for it.
Case in point, the drama between Wizkid and his baby’s mother Shola.
We are strongly pro-life in Nigeria, but only when we are ready for children.
This is the stance of the average girl, who would not hesitate to exercise her reproductive rights to have a pregnancy terminated when in a tight spot, but will never admit that she is pro-choice. The criminalisation and stigma is the reason why safe abortions are so expensive and only available to a few privileged women (done in secrecy, of course), while unfortunate and desperate girls die from quackery and dangerous home abortion attempts.
Not enough services
For example, the Marie Stopes Center is a great resource for women who need sustainable birth control and abortions, but there are only three centres in Nigeria: one in Lagos, one in Abuja and the other in Port-Harcourt. That’s just too little covering such a large population.
When it comes to preventing pregnancies, the education we give our girls stops at ‘run away from boys or you’ll get pregnant.’ And our boys? We expect them to just know what to do.
Schools are horribly ill-equipped to teach young people about sex and contraception.
When we start teaching young girls how to properly use protection and make those options available to them, when we start admitting that safe abortion should be a right, then we will have made huge steps towards empowering young ladies to have control over their own bodies. Maybe then, we can boldly say that we are pro-choice.
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