Shade Lawal: Abortion – A woman’s right to choose (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Last month, tweets about abortion swarmed my timeline on twitter. I aired my views on the issue at the time, but the limit of 140 characters made a comprehensive discourse almost impossible. Thus, when I got the invitation from YNaija to feature in ‘30days, 30 voices’; I knew it was a perfectopportunity for me to expound my viewswithout religious or cultural sentiments.

The World dictionary defines abortion as:

“the premature termination of pregnancy by  spontaneous  or induced  expulsion  of  a  non-viable  fetus from the uterus.”

For the record, I am neither pro, nor anti-abortion. I believe all individuals – particularly women -should determine the course of their own liveswithout being judged or stigmatized by thesociety.

Abortion is a topic that is very controversial. Walk across streets all over the world, andyou’ll likely come across placards promoting anti-abortion messages.Some of theseeven citescriptures from the Bible and Quran, equating abortion to murder in the sight of God.

Akin to the endless moralizations against sex tradeand rationalizations about whether or not it represents deviant behavior in the argument for decriminalization, are the frequent debates that accompanydiscussions on abortion.However, regardless of all the arguments for or against, abortions continue to be performed.

The lack of legality notwithstanding, young women all over Nigeria are on a daily basis, having abortions performed by individuals withoutthe necessary skills and certifications to perform such an act. Many of these abortions, due to the need for secrecy, are done in environments which do not conform to the minimum medical standards.

We must ask ourselves: Why do women choose abortion? What are the motivating factors?

I believe the reasons are several, and include:

  • Contraceptive (Birth Control) failure: Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method in the month they became pregnant.
  • Inability to support or care for a child.
  • To end an unwanted pregnancy.
  • To prevent the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems. Such defects are often unknown until routine second-trimester tests are done.
  • Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
  • Physical or mental conditions that endanger the woman’s health if the pregnancy is continued.
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of financial and moral support.
  • For many young women, the cultural stigma of being a single mother is so strong that they feel they have to go to any length to avoid bringing shame and disgrace on their families

Consequent to the above, it is my submission thatevery woman should have the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion in the event of an unwanted or unusual pregnancy. Her choice should be personal, taking into account all her social, religious, cultural and moral values

The World Health Organization (WHO), estimated in a study conducted a few years ago, that “back-alley” abortions cause 68,000 maternal deaths each year in countrieswhere abortions are illegal.

Yet, modern abortion procedures are purported to be safe. Studies show that the risk of a woman’s death from abortion is less than one in 100,000. Whereas, the risk of a woman dying from live births is 13.3 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies.

Abortion is a choice, and motherhood ought not to be a punishment for having sexual intercourse. President Barack Obama said in a Mar. 29, 2008 campaign speech in Johnston, Pennsylvania, “I have two daughters… I’m going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

Culture and Religion are the cohesive glue that binds communities together, but for many women, they have become the hangman’s noose on which their freedoms are choked.

For further discussion, follow @Shecrownlita on twitter.


Shade Lawal is an aviation geek, single mother, desert dweller and passionate Nigerian. Follow @Shecrownlita on twitter.


30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.





Comments (0)

  1. Truth! Abortion IS a choice and should BE a choice. The freedom to birth or abort has been impeded by our so-call traditional/ religious tenets. A huge set-back in our cry clamor for Human Rights, IMHO.

    Enlightening piece.

  2. A well written article, truly without religious or cultural sentiments. I hear people castigate young girls who go for abortion but do nothing to help such girls. I can only imagine the trauma of having to decide in such a situation. I know you are ready to tell me that they should not have had sex if they are not ready for pregnancy…..yeah, I know but stuff happens. I am not pro-abortion but if there are no support systems for people who are in this kind of situation, what other option do they have.

    Thanks Shade for this piece.

  3. God bless u 4 dis wonderful piece. This is 1 issue I have always thought about but never got around to penning down. The issue is simple. People will always do abortion for whatever reason they deem fit. Society, religion, family, and many institutions do not encourage it and that doesn't stop people from doing it. If someone has chosen to abort,they at least deserve it to be done properly. Whatever consequences will be between them and their God. At least death rate will reduce.

  4. Its a very good article you've written here. But I don't agree with the stand that someone born out of wedlock is a 'punishment for sexual intercourse'. Such a notion,promoted,will just destroy the self esteem of too many of such children.

  5. Good write up, the society really needs to change towards abortion, though its not right but the conseqeunce of bringing an unwanted child into the world is greater

  6. if the contraceptive use is less than 50% in a country like Nigeria, I wonder how come about half of the people who seek abortion had used a form of contraceptive prior to getting pregnant. second thought of mine is what is the contraceptiove failure rate in women years? most importantly I think your position has been made clear, you are not an anti-abortionist.

  7. I like this..

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail