We live in a society which upholds very high morals , takes religion seriously and is very much against abortion. However this same society does very little to care for children already born and struggling… this makes you ask, what really are we against?
It is obvious why we have embraced religion and taken it seriously. If you live in a country with so much uncertainties, with very basic services not working, your fellow citizens always and constantly trying to dupe you or take advantage of you, you will need something or someone bigger than you to trust. For us Nigerians, that is God. Even though we cannot see him, we have experienced so much hardship that the promises of the most high appears to be the only thing one can count on since the hope it provides is refreshing and keeps people going.
Furthermore, when people are religious their moral compasses often is usually very high. However, something needs to be said about a religious people who are somewhat uneducated at the same time. It is a bad mixture and recipe for disaster. This is not to imply that the society at large is uneducated, I am saying this with regards to the knowledge of moral psychology. Most of us religious people are ignorant on how morality works or where it comes from. This article isn’t to teach morality but I will attempt to state the very basic principle of morality which is , ‘that we judge first and give reason later’. Secondly is that the human mind is moralistic in nature.
When religious people hear the word abortion, the first thing that happens is that our moral antenna goes up and we pass judgment immediately. When asked why, we justify it with reasons like, it’s a sin against God. We are not here to debate on whether abortion is a sin or not, but we are asking the question. If we cared so much about life why do we not care so much about the babies already born? Why do we not care or act like we care about the well-being of that unmarried or teenage girl carrying the pregnancy we are trying hard not to abort?
It’s often observed that we the people who carry placards saying a strong no to abortion on the other hand do nothing to support orphanages, motherless babies home and the likes. Our moral inclination does not drive us to pay our taxes or clamor for free health care or education. The idea is that when we have these things working and organized, most parents or girls will not be quick to resort to abortion.
Furthermore, I am of the opinion that one major change, if made, will discourage abortion to a really large degree within the Nigerian society. This is that we as a society should stop vilifying or trying to ostracize young women who get pregnant outside of wedlock. We shame them to the point of making it appear as though they are the only ones who’s ever engaged in sexual intercourse. This reason here I believe is why abortion is the first thing on a young girl’s mind and we need to change that. Mothers should stop withdrawing love from their daughters who get pregnant outside of wedlock. I understand why they do so, because society will see them as failed parents. But if you withdraw your love and push the girl away, what other choice do you leave her with?
This brings us to the main question of this essay. If we are not interested in pursuing causes that will help or sustain the already growing kids without parents or full parental support and we are hell bent on disgracing and shaming our young girls that get pregnant, both reasons which drive girls to seek abortion as first option, why then are we so much against abortion? Because the way we treat pregnant girls does not appear as though we plan to discourage abortions.
So what really are we against? I’m not sure what it is we are against, but I will tell what I think we are for. Being a religious society, we want to punish the young girls who get pregnant outside of wedlock. We see the pregnancy as a punishment to them. We say it is the consequences of their actions, don’t abort it, carry it, suffer the shame. This a topic for another time but what about the men who impregnate the women?
We think that too many people use abortion as a way of ridding themselves of an inconvenience and believe a lot are talked into it by a partner who doesn’t want to be responsible for a child. This is what I really think we are for. While some of the points might be true it still does not change anything. I can imagine how unpleasant it can be reading this and thinking who is this man that is so much in support of abortion? Well on the contrary, I am not in support of abortion but I am in support of stopping all the practices and neglect and push people towards abortion. Supporting teenage girls or young ladies who got pregnant out of wedlock will not increase sexual activities. But neither will shaming and neglecting them reduce it. We have shamed them, we have ridiculed them, yet sexual activities are on the rise and so are illegal abortions.
Finally we need to educate our young people on sex, not just say “don’t have sex or you will go to hell” but explain to them why sex is important within marriage, and why marriage is important to society. That we are trying to discourage pre-marital sex does not mean we should not make contingency plans for when it happens and results in pregnancy. The Nigerian society needs to do better for its people and as we learn, let us use our enlightenment towards value creation and growth.
About The Author
Mbonu Martin is a technical project manager, writer and a rational optimist. He is interested in traveling, good food and curious about “why”