Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is Why Abortion Should Be Legalised

Yes I said it.

In the past 2 years I have observed and gleaned information from my doctor friends, media about practices here in the UK.

Enter a typical clinic in the UK and there are posters discreetly placed giving you numbers to call if you are pregnant and need someone to talk to about the next step to take. Contraception, condoms, morning after pills can be found in most public toilets...just so you don't have an excuse to have unprotected sex. These policies are acceptable because the govt recognises/accepts that sex will happen whether they approve of it or not. so they might as well make it safe. Moreover economically it is cheaper to prevent than cure STDS/AIDS or provide abortion innit?
Requests for morning after pills are treated as emergencies in GPs since their efficacy is limited by times. Request for a termination and you receive VIP treatment. You are counseled and taken through the steps involved in the termination.
Dilation and curettage are of course extinct practices. It’s all about drugs now. First Mifepristone which blocks the hormone progesterone and causes the uterus lining to break down followed by Misoprostol which makes the womb contract, causing cramping and bleeding similar to a miscarriage. and Hey presto pregnancy is gone with minimal damage to womb.

Of course there is the emotional/mental aspect. The decision to abort isn’t beans I’m sure, so counseling is available if you need it. Or if you prefer, you and your conscience can sort it out. Interestingly contrary to popular opinion about the guilt, I have read personal stories of women who say it was the best decision they made. They just did what they gotta do.

I appreciate the wonder of conception. I would prefer/wish that every child conceived lives to contribute to the world and tell their story. But I am also ready to accede that that is in Planet Utopia. Pregnancy outside marriage has always been nuanced with shame even in Biblical times. But this is not 500AD and we have to evolve our thinking. 
In most developed countries, abortion is available on demand (some even force it on you – China) but they also make it easy for you to be make pro-life choices. Single mothers get benefits if jobless, tax concessions, extended maternity days, benefits for the child, the school puts her education on hold till she is able to resume etc etc. 
Though i look askance at reality shows like “16 and pregnant” I acknowledge the messages like ‘pregnancy is life changing but it is not the end of the world’, moreover by celebrating those girls and their babies they are telling us that pregnancy is a beautiful thing.

Then you come to Africa/Nigeria or insert *typical African country* and the story changes.

It is bad enough being 18 and pregnant and facing the devil and the deep blue sea - angry parents, suspension from school and rejection by sperm donor (eejit) – but you now have to face the traumatic and shameful experience that abortion is in Africa and go to some unsterilised cesspool because abortion is illegal in your country and this is the only thing you can afford.

What do we gain from the deaths that happen through botched abortions?
Why should a woman in terminating a pregnancy lose her womb and ability to reproduce in future as well or worse die?
Why do we want a  38-45 year old woman to go through a 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th pregnancy endangering her life, increasing her chances of having a child with Down’s syndrome when she could have simply terminated at 7weeks?
What do you do when IUD fails you, cause it does?
What do you do when you have a husband who refuses to undergo vasectomy or use condom?
What do you do when you can’t afford contraception or its not easily available?
What do you do when you face losing your job?
Why should a young girl be expected to bear a child she is emotionally, physically, financially and mentally unable to care of. Yes, she had sex. Premarital sex, plenty of it or little. Must we punish her? And punish the next generation because believe me, the child she bears is going to continue to bear the shame of illegitimacy from our loving and tolerant African society (tongue in cheek).

In Nigeria abortion is a crime. According to Section 228 of the Criminal Code “any person who, with intent to procure miscarriage of a woman whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind or uses any other means whatever, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years”.
While Section 229 of Criminal Code provides that “any woman who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, whether she is or is not with a child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind or uses any other means whatever, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years”.
Interpretation: A woman pregnant from rape cannot abort. A woman who finds out she is carrying a deformed baby cannot abort. Chemists, , pharmacists, ogogoro seller, doctor are all liable to 7 years imprisonment if caught.
Reality:  Unsafe abortion is a major cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in Nigeria, accounting for 30–40% of maternal deaths. The abortion rate in Nigeria is 25 per 1000 women aged 15–44 years and there are about 610,000 pregnancy terminations annually. (link here)

Italy, a predominantly Catholic country with a ruling Christian Democratic Party liberalized its Abortion laws since 1978. The said law, considered as the most liberal Abortion Law in the world, allows any woman from 18 years upward to freely seek an abortion at a private or public institution during the first 90 days of pregnancy. Under the said Italian Law, abortions can be sought on the premises of health, economic, social, family, or psychological reasons.(link here)

Abortion on demand! Women have their reproductive rights upheld.
Reality: Italy tops the Table with the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world 3.9 deaths per 100,000 live births
Nigeria is #162nd with 608 deaths per 100,000 live births (unsafe abortion causes 182-243deaths per 100,000)
Ghana is #145th with 405 deaths per 100,000 live births (link here)

If this talk about Unsafe abortion and maternal mortality ratios etc still sounds like Greek, Kindly watch this

A man who has never read Grey’s anatomy or undergone any form of medical training has the unbridled opportunity to use the crudest methods to dip his hands and unsterilised instruments into the most intimate part of a woman.
As if that’s not bad enough, she is raped.
He has been providing these services for 15 years. 260 women per year  X 15 years (using an average of 5 patients per week) is 3900 women aborting and raped.
And this is just one quack. Multiply that by a 1000 quacks and we have to admit that we can’t let this continue.
This is small Ghana.  18 million population . Wanna do the Maths on Nigeria?

Two attempts to change the law in Nigeria were stopped by conservative women's groups. They say a change in the law would promote promiscuity, and weaken the moral fibre of Nigeria.

"Making more abortions available is not the answer," says Saudata Sani, a female member of the House of Representatives for Kaduna state, in northern Nigeria. "Women need to be educated about their rights over their body and given opportunities to plan their families, but it must be done in a way that protects public morality." (link here)

I hear you Ezigbo Nne!! but you are talking from two sides of your mouth. Reproductive rights must be unconditional. A woman either has rights over her body or she doesn’t - right to have 10 children, 1 child or none - and the right to demand the best medical services to uphold this right.

We are not much better than the countries that stone a woman to death for committing adultery. By letting them die at the hands of butchers we are doing exactly the same thing. 

Live and let live. Live and let live.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Spider King's Daughter

Remember me raving about this book in this post? Well, I happily nicked borrowed my friend's autographed copy recently. let me share with you the excerpt that gripped my attention -

Let me tell you a story about frustration. A dog used to follow me around when I was ten. One day my father had his driver run over this dog in plain view of the house. I watched from  my window.
The car reversed. Again his tyres rolled over my dog and then he sent for me.
‘I’m so sorry. I know how much that dog meant to you. I don’t know how this idiot didn’t see it.’
I knew he was lying.
He knew I knew and in that moment I felt an anger fill me, so strong it would surely have killed one of us if I let it loose.
…….Finally I said, ‘Daddy, please can we run over my dog again?’
Both he and the driver were visibly shocked. My father nodded, ‘Do as she says’
‘Aim for the head’, I said, leaning against the car and taking perverse pleasure in the driver shrinking away.
Abike: 1
Mr Johnson: 0

Plot – Two teenagers experiencing opposite realities in Lagos, meet on one hot Summer’s day on a busy Lagos road. One driven by a chauffeur in an air conditioned car. The other a hawker –running mini-Bolt races as he tries to sell ice cream to customers in moving cars. Naija peeps you can imagine this scenario right? The thrill and danger….not!
She was instantly drawn to the handsome young man and like a cat and its prey, she stalked him; taking that same route daily and ostensibly buying the cheap lollies though she didn’t care for them.
Through awkward conversations and dates they settle into an uneasy friendship whose trajectory will be influenced by their respective fathers.
Hers through a game of wills she engages in with her father.
His through the specter of former wealth erased by the death of his father and the present burden of caring for a mother and sister.
A sealed letter, a one armed beggar, a marriage proposal and sinister secrets from the past come flying out of the closet as the romance races to a thrilling conclusion.

Chibuzo has an exceptional writing style, “We had come to Yaba market the home of cheap wooden stalls bowed under the weight of the average Nigerian’s need to look Western for as Eastern a price as possible” little wonder she already has a 2-book contract with Faber and Faber and she's only 22.
The plot was plausible to a great extent - rich girl/poor boy, corruption slum/high brow lifestyles, corruption, teenagers. She used a style heavy on dialogue to let Abike and the hawker recount events in their own perspective. Though it involved repetition of scenarios, Iwill admit that it didn’t get boring.

I learnt a thing or two about the business of hawking through this book. Like that there is hierarchy in hawking, with recharge card sellers at the  top of the chain the leaders, then those who sell bric a brics (photographs of presidents, bed sheets, crockery), ice cream sellers, foreign sweets sellers, foreign fruits sellers and at the bottom boiled peanut sellers!!
It was also a revelation of the grim life within the slums in Lagos. I always thought I understood poverty but I stand corrected. I also thought I understood what it meant to be the pampered child of rich parents. This book revealed other facets of wealthy living that made me want to forswear riches.

It was a grim read. Not enough light.
In a way Chibuzo should be applauded for taking this brave route.. it could have been as easy to give it a sunny happily ever after conclusion. Rather the two leads lived lives of quiet desperation. It was understandable for the young man who has sacrificed his dreams on the altar of sudden poverty. But it was also interesting to note this desperation in Abike’s life, you would expect the pampered rich girl to be a happy teenager more interested in parties and boys, but rather we had one with a mean streak and manipulative at every turn.
The first two pages that gripped me at 'first read' should have given me an inkling.

Maybe it’s me not the author….
I couldn’t endear to the romance between the two leads enough to make me care for its survival or dissolution. The budding romance was awkward to say the least, all stares and angst and yet no sizzle. Debo was referred to as ‘the hawker’, ‘my hawker’ throughout the book and this served to de-personalise him for me. Moreover I couldn’t cotton to the age of the characters. 17 and 18.
Adura(Naijalines) recently asked for inputs/opinions about the age of the characters in her book. This has made me aware of how important it is to a plot for the readers to be comfortable with the age of the characters.

I really really wanted to love this book but it wasn’t to be. sigh. This doesn’t take away from the fact that Chibuzo is a talented writer with a style beyond her years. I hope to see her growth in her next book.
Have you read the book? What do you think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'll Be The Other Woman

These are the lyrics to the song "I'll Be The Other Woman" by Betty Wright a.k.a The Mistress Anthem :)

I'll be the other woman all your life 
Just as long as I'm the only one other than your wife 
Your wife, how would she feel if she caught us together? 
The same way I would feel if I caught you with another
Home, I know, comes first
And second to that I'll be 
But when you're not there with her
 I want you right here with me

I'll be the other woman 
Just as long as I know
I'm the only other woman you make love to
I'll be the other woman 
But I've got to know
 I'm the only other woman you make love to

The neighbors are whispering, saying you don't care
 If you cheat on your wife for me, you'll on me for someone else
 I'll be your part-time love, but that's as far as I'll go 
To be your part-time fool would be stooping a little too low
Loving a married man 
This I really don't mind 
But a married Casanova
 Is a little out of my line

Chorus x2

I'll hold the doors for you baby
 Long as I know 
I'm the only other woman 
You make love to
I'll be your part-time love 
But I've got to know 
I'm the only other woman 
You make love to

Please please somebody tell me there aren't women who go about thinking this way??? Seven billion people in the world and you are having angst over a married man???

I do understand the sentiment behind this - mistresses are notoriously jealous, they already share a small part of the married man's life and wouldn't want another poacher - but Girlfriend!!l!!

p.s. reminds me of 'The Prayer of Mediocrity' from Atilola's Antonyms of a

p.p.s. Thanks for sharing Prof

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Antonyms of A Mirage

Antonyms of a mirage is a collection of poems and drama and prose written by the multipersona-ed Atilola Moronfolu.
The title tagline is a question, "What does reality mean to you?"  Based on her narratives, I will answer ‘looking beyond the superficial’. She alludes to this in poems like ‘The family portrait’ ‘film trick’ and ‘Do you know’.

I could relate to most of her writings; I have lived in an Akanni-like street before, I have encountered ‘fire and brimstone preachers’ and ‘Lagos beggars’. 
I could appreciate the interview with Corrupy, the monster we have allowed to terrorise our land, and bear fruit in the characters of the story 'In my pocket'. Atilola believes that love is the the panacea to Corrupy's ills....I agree (I also think zero tolerance and an accompanying death sentence would help greatly)

There were also funny ones. The prayer of mediocrity. Hear this young bride to be pray, "Lord you understand Dipo’s weaknesses. You know that he has a fragile heart and sometimes lashes out by hitting me……Lord I ask that by the time we are married and he decides to hit  me, it will be something bearable". get what you ask for Woman!!

The opinionated one illuminates the thoughts of the author on life and relationships while the last chapter is a collection of personal anecdotes about the author’s talkativeness, her lion-killer daddy and her antics as a young Sisi dodging the advances of a sugar daddy.

All in all a wistful yet amusing read which will make the reader pause and think, disagree, agree but never stay indifferent.

Thumbs up Atilola and I hope there is more where this came from!


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