A Slippery Slope – Temidayo Ahanmisi

My friend who has 3 kids already has had 2 abortions in quick succession after the last boy.
A part of me struggled not to feel resentful at the casual way she said she didn’t want any pregnancy to interfere with her body makeover programme.

I should think contraception would have been a smarter option, but she was still dithering over choices because she feared getting fat, cancer et al.
It was so easy for her as I saw it and I thought “life is not fair”.

Abortion is a MAJOR slippery slope issue. There are no absolute wrongs or rights per opinions and I believe the responsible option in these hot buttons is to not lose sight of the tree for the forest.

First, yes some women who get pregnant – especially teenagers – are beyond irresponsible.
Should their right to choice be taken from them then, and they be made to carry the pregnancy to term?

Some older women are just as culpable. You have a woman who decides to get pregnant to cajole a wedding ring from a man. You have a woman drugging a man so she can get him to ejaculate in her at least.
Should these women be forced to abort these babies?
Should we cajole rape victims to have their abuser’s baby against all odds, simply because we believe life begins at conception and so must be respected as such?

If we are going to render it in clinical biological terms, a foetus is basically a parasite with the mother and the womb she provides acting in essence as host.

Where do we get off telling a human person with full human rights to dignity, to choice, to autonomy and to personal welfare that they must carry a “parasite” to full term or be deemed criminal?
Where will it just stop? Next we will have men raping women to force the question because of course abortion is illegal, so the crime against her aside, the man gets the baby he needs, the community and state get to sleep better, smug in the feeling of their own morality.

Whether anyone likes it or not, a debate about abortion should have people who actually have wombs to carry babies at its forefront.
Women are not leading the debate on abortion. As usual we have more men waxing strident over the issue, charging, so that women who air their opinions are increasingly doing so from a defensive stance.

It must remain a woman’s right to have first and last jurisdictional authority on whether the child in her womb stays or goes.
If her life is endangered in any way, then there should be no second guessing. A woman who insists on endangering her life to birth a child should be considered as a suicide and the proper redress should apply. Besides any harm to the baby against viable medical advice should be held against her or whoever made the decision on her behalf. I would suggest civil penalties.

We have men in Saudi heading councils on women’s affairs. We all know it is just so preposterous. How is it remarkably different from an argument about abortion that has more men wrestling over opinions than there are women?
These Saudi men could just as well argue that they have a stake in the affairs of these women seeing as they are companions In society. Yes?

We have made enough progress on the matter of Women’s Rights and Humanism esp. on the question of bodily integrity and autonomy.. We will not be dragged back to the stone age just because society is too discomfited by the woman’s right to decide what to do with her body or who stays in it.

Abortion must NOT be criminalised unless it is against the wish of the mother, and the child is not at major health risk. No one should be permitted to hold down a woman and remove her foetus against her will.

Society cannot eat its cake and yet have it. We hate abortion, yet do not want to hear about contraception. How is this not crazy?
Champion contraception as a government and society, and the rights of women and men to access it cheaply and readily. Let women have abortions if they must. With increased access to contraception, abortion rates drop. Simple commonsense proportionality.

I say a foetus in its objective biological sense can rightly be considered a parasite. I expect some would bristle at this. The idea of a potential human-being as a parasite actually makes me wince, but let’s look at essential definitives here.

It is about the same way someone can decide to term abortion in any euphemistic way. Their choice. No need splitting hairs about it endlessly.

I hope this should be my last word on this irritating topic. I give kudos to the few Nigerian doctors who are carrying out abortions and not letting philosophical silliness stand in contention against the rights of a female person to life, to dignity and choice. I am happy all the sanctimony of our society will not stop them.


Temidayo Ahanmisi writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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