SAFE ABORTION: The controversy

When the word “abortion” is pronounced or heard in our society today, different head turning reactions is prompted. Some people frown at it, some shrug at it while others are indifferent But except we want to be “hypocrites” or hide under the shield of “sheer ignorance”, is when we would deny its existence and consequences (good or bad).IMG_20151212_151544

As much as it is a taboo and we would all pretend to not want to know or hear about it, the plain and bitter truth is; ABORTION IS HAPPENING, and EVERYDAY A FELLOW FEMALE IS BEEN KILLED BY THE PROCESS and that makes a generation gone. It going on in our very community, it is rampantly on an increase and it concerns us deeply because whether you like it or not, “a daughter” or “a niece” or “a sister” or “a cousin” or “a friend” or even “a mother” somewhere right now, is falling victim trying to get rid of a conception she does or does not want.

So many circumstances can warrant an abortion but does this justify what it is… like a reaction we got online * “Can killing ever be safe…abortion is what it is, except when it is really life threatening… by @Afolato”. Now this brings us to our topic SAFE ABORTION; how safe is it? Or can it be safe? Or should it even be condoned or even legalised?

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Abortion, according to WHO, can be defined as the termination of pregnancy for whatever cause before the foetus is able to survive on its own, extrauterinely. According to Planned Parenthood, Abortion is a safe and legal way to end a pregnancy but with choice under medical conditions and this is classified as safe abortion.

There are naturally induced abortion i.e. miscarriage, spontaneous abortions, artificially induced abortion (intentional and unintentional use of potentially harmful and poisonous substances and drugs) or surgical and medically oriented abortions carried out in a proper hospital or by a quake doctor. As medical personnel in the life saving job, abortion is seen from a different perspective, it’s just like any other surgical or therapeutic procedure we carry out to save a life, like our job demands and our duties (and also the Hippocratic Oath) calls. Ironical, isn’t it?… how “lifesaving” and supposedly “killing a life” can go together in the same sentence.

According to the ABORTION LAW by United Nation in 2013 report, the national law has 5 categories;

• Category 0 – Abortion not allowed

• Category 1 – General principle allow abortion to be performed In order to save a woman’s life.

•Category 2 – Abortion explicitly allowed in order to save a woman’s life.

• Category 3 – Abortion explicitly allowed in order to save a life and for certain reasons.

• Category 4 – Abortion allowed on request.

And Nigeria belongs to category 3, with restriction to cases of maternal life, mental health, and/or health.

Let me paint you a scenario; a young girl of about 16-18 walks into a hospital with the complaint of been sick. Tests were carried out and she was found out to be pregnant. Probably, she is just in secondary school or her first year in the university or still writing JAMB. Probably her parents her struggling or she is been fostered or on a scholarship. (okay, yes, she is loose or stupid or dumb or how did she get herself pregnant in the first place? or good for her…or maybe the poor girl has just been raped or abused, worse by a familiar family or friend… whatever is going through your mind right now, you might be wrong, you might be right but then… the deed is done. She is a month or two gone. Nothing changes that right now.) What is the way forward?

* Another reaction we got online was…  “Safe abortion; how safe is it? … as safe as not endangering my future” by @Tobiwhite_

Back to our scenario, now two weeks later on this fateful day, that same girl was rushed into the EMERGENCY ROOM, with different kinds of complications and bleeding. After battling to save her live for hours, or before rob and jack could even be altered she gives up the ghost… DO YOU KNOW, two lives has been lost and one of them could have been saved, to be saved another day and also save another?

You know, after the girl left the hospital that day, maybe after pleading for an abortion that got a NO. She had actually made up her mind to get rid of the pregnancy by any means which she really did not care how.  Eventually, maybe she took some advice, visited that chemist, or that sharp-sharp doctor, or the herbalist or maybe perhaps the agbo woman. And at the end of the day, she not only hurt the yet unborn but she also harmed herself. And the painful part is… it all could have been avoided.

Though we could say she killed herself but do you know she was unwell like every other sick person, and was refused treatment. Yes, good health is all round wellbeing; physical, mental, spiritual, psychological, emotional etc. and does not necessarily mean the absence of illness or unhealthy state. As at that point, the girl in question was sick emotionally, mentally, psychologically and even socially… and she wasn’t helped to help another day.

Another scenario, is of a 13/14 year old girl raped by a trusted fellow, or a 23-27 year old lady that already has like four children and is in abject poverty, or a 29-33 year old married woman raped by robbers or a 43-48 year old woman with health issues that is complicated with pregnancy. In these cases, where lives are threatened and social stigmatization or mental, psychological and emotional jeopardy is looming… what should be done? CHOICE, ABORTION or SAFE ABORTION?

* Yet another online reaction… “Abortion at any stage ain’t safe…considering the poor health facility in the country too” by @rotimiilori

Either for the girl above or for any of the other four, it is only safe and wise to play safe and save the lives of the women or girls in picture so they can have the opportunity to act right where they have gone wrong or to live to be pregnant another  day. All we are saying is, although abortion is still publicly illegal, but according to the ABORTTION LAW, if the situation is threatening an already existing maternal life or potentially harmful in any area to her health (socially, mentally, emotionally, educationally, psychologically…). Instead of trying to terminate it in the barbaric way, it could be safe and legal.

* We also got this online from @francisanyaegbu “I believe that the SAFE preceding it, shows it’s… see this piece – How safe is abortion?



Say no to female abuse and rape. Say no to unwanted pregnancy.  Say no to unsafe abortion. Say no to the endangering female race.  Say no to jeopardy of bright and lives … Say no to unnecessary death and waste of the female teenage, youth and adults.


– Avoid premarital, unprotected sex. Abstinence is the best and safest measure to avoid unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

– In cases of abuse and rape, report to the nearest hospital and police station.

– In cases of health issues or pregnancy control, opt for family planning, IUD, tubectomy and other mechanical, surgical or oral contraceptive.

– In cases of unplanned and even planned  pregnancy, go to the nearest hospital for medical advice

– Avoid drug abuse

– Avoid patronizing unqualified medical / pharmaceutical personnel.


Oluwakemisola A.





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