By Nwachukwu Joshua
Last week, the House of Representative passed the long awaited Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Bill (VAPP) bill, which has been on the floor of the National Assembly, since 1999 (more than 14 years) .
The need to pass this bill became urgent due to the rising acts of violence which have been inflicted on women by means of rape, murder, battery, and assault. Already it has been predicted that by 2016 one billion women will have been violated in different forms all over the world
Many are of the view that, to curb this evil and inhumane acts, a better criminal legislation is needed, which by providing stiff penal sanctions would serve as a deterrent to potential offenders. This the new law has provided and it has received commendations from both the local and international community.
The House of Representative have to be commended specially, for their astuteness in expunging a provision that reads: “Every woman shall have the right to health, which shall be understood to mean the enjoyment of the highest level of physical, mental and social wellbeing, healthcare services, including those related to family planning. In particular, rural women shall have the right to have access to adequate healthcare facilities, including information, counseling and services in family planning. Every woman shall have the right to take decisions about her health needs and requirements. In particular, she shall have the right to determine the processes concerning reproduction in her body. Every woman shall have the right to enjoy reproductive health rights including the right to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother.”
This provision shows that there is a clear agenda to legalise and publicize abortion and contraception, under the euphemism of reproductive health.
Proponents of this provision are advocating that abortion should be legal for cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger. These were the same reasons given in other countries when it was legal; an example is the USA which has legalised abortion for about 40 years. But after a lot of pressure abortion on demand became the norm, even to the extent that some girls under 18 procured abortion without the consent of their parents.
In the words of Justice Oputa “People should always go back to history because it gives a perspective to the problems of the present and drives home the point that there is really very little new under the sun. History indeed repeats itself because man refuses to learn from history. But those who ignore the lessons of history are destined to relive its horrors”.
As Dr. Chuma Onyejizu said, we can learn that a nation that ravels the road of legal abortion will soon lose its sense of morality and will find itself condoning unspeakable crimes.
From history we have learnt that abortion, rather than liberate women, it harms them physically, psychologically, rationally, culturally and spiritually and exposes to exploitation of all kinds. There is a strong link between abortions and increased rates of psychological illnesses like anxiety disorders, major depressions and even suicide. This has led to springing up of post-abortion counselling centres to help women undergoing post-abortion crisis. There is also a link between abortions and increased risks of cancer.
I think it is very much antithetical to the violence against persons bill to make abortion and it likes legal because, rather than liberate women and make them respectable and honourable, abortion makes them vulnerable to exploitation, abandonment and more violence and they could be used cheaply since there is an option called abortion.
With abortion comes infidelity, loss of sense of obligation and responsibility. With abortion the virtue of chastity and temperance and the life of virtue in general disappear from the dictionaries of men.
Fortunately some countries like Hungary, Russia and Poland and even some states in the USA who have experienced the ills of abortion are beginning to effect changes to protect the lives of the unborn and women.
I once again commend our legislators because it seems they are learning from history. I thereby implore the Senate to follow the exemplary path of the House of Representative and quickly pass the bill into law.