Sunday, March 31

What do YOU think about abortion?

In one of the International Family Planning Perspectives, Volume 29, Number 1, March 2003 - it revealed that one in five young urban women have had unsafe abortion, many at least once performed by a physician or nurse. What has the state done to ensure women and girls have safe abortion? 

ABORTION – they say, it is religiously and morally wrong. It has never been a human right even under international human rights instruments; it violates the most fundamental human right to life. And so on, the story continues…

Before I decided to write on this topic, I have experienced several confrontations as a sexuality educator– both positive and negative ones.

I have even engaged on sexuality conversation with all sort of personalities; clergies, academics, entrepreneurs, social workers, entertainers, politicians,  health professionals, artists, religiouslists, activists etc.; each of whom having a strong voice for change. A voice that seeks development, democracy, good governance, improved livelihood, education, good health, leadership, security and safety, and even gender equality…, but not that which supports women and girls being able to get reliable information about and access to safe abortion methods, information on how to induce a medical abortion and women’s  sexual and reproductive health services. Whereas, this is equally a human concern like any other issue that demands human intervention. 

Like many societies, the law in Cameroon supports this non-sensitivity towards women’s sexual rights. For instance,  the Cameroon Penal Code, Section337(1)  states: Any woman procuring or consenting to her own abortion shall be punished with imprisonment for from fifteen days to one year or with fine of from five thousand to two hundred thousand francs or with both such imprisonment and fine.

Some 3 to 4 years ago, I participated in a door-to-door Female Condom peer education project here in Buea. This was part of the joint Universal Access to Female Condom (UAFC) program. I recalled in some of my female condoms educational talks, there were some boys who spoke so vociferously against the work we were doing. Alluding that it was making men feel honey as well as to encourage promiscuity. Conversely, the women seldom spoke and the few who even tried to speak made very few sentences which gave a feeling like, if they spoke, they would be scolded.  And all these perhaps was simply not be seen as the evil and bad one.

Again, just recently I wrote a post on facebook where I asked the question: what do you think about abortion? Like always, the responds from majority of my male friends felt it was a wrong deed and should not be encouraged.  

Therefore, you change agents; health, development, education advocates and activists, who crave to be heard, remember that in the same way you desire change, so too are women with their bodies. Women are better masters and decision-makers in controlling their body. Let women make the CHOICE!

To respond the question: what do you think about Abortion? I think and believe that should abortion be made legal, many of the risky reproductive health problems would reduce. 

This article was previously posted onYouth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights  WatchDog Page