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WHY SUB-SAHARA AFRICAN COUNTRIES MOST NOT LEGALIZE ABORTION

Popularity 1Viewed 3116 times 2016-2-10 20:22 |System category:News| research, benefit, about


After thorough research and deliberations with other academic, medical and religious scholars about the cost-benefit of enacting the Abortion law in Sub-Sahara Africa Countries,I’ve come out with the strong conviction that Countries in that region are not yet ripe enough to adopt such a law since the cost far more outweigh the benefit and  so legalizing Abortion Bill or even encourage any bill that threaten national interest will cause a very great harm than good and will eventually result to an adversity in the health system,culture-religious values,intellectual capacity building,  and socio-economic  growth and development.

Before debunking, first and foremost we need to understand what abortion is?-simply put, Abortion is the act of ending an unwanted pregnancy which is tantamount to murderer. There is a normal saying “If abortion is killing a human being, then male masturbation is genocide”. Is just a food for thought. The debate on the issue of legalizing  abortion or not reveals the controversy of Religious and cultural beliefs as against democratic and human rights values of which the later is being used by our traditional developmental partners or Foreign Aid Partners say: UN, IMF, World Bank and other human right organizations that are always with the view of wanting nothing but to donate Foreign Aids to Countries in dying need of funds at the expense of mortgaging their sovereignty and indigenous  socio-cultural right and values like a pinch of salt.

My reason of taking such stands is with a very strong conviction that legalizing abortion in the jurisdictions of Countries in  the Sub-Saharan region of which my country Sierra Leone is not an exception looking at prevailing human livelihood and socio-economic and culture-religious problems and challenges is not only impeding on Country’s growth engines and developmental strategic focus but a misplacement of both governance and legislative priorities as it is but a real fact that Africa for now needs policies that  gear towards facilitating and stimulating the transformation of the respective nation’s economies for value addition from lower income under-developed nations to medium income developing nations and then to higher income developed nations.Such policies will build up a very strong health system that will guarantee a rapid decline of maternal mortality,revamping, and enhancing socio-economic activities in areas such as; industralization, job creation, improve on intellectual capital,agricultural modernization, trade facilitation and liberalization,Investment and green energy to address the risk associated with climate change demanding for better human welfare and good standard of living simultaneously stabilizing the already fragile systems in the respective Countries. It’s not news anymore about the predicaments that African countries have undergone as a result of food security and political instability as in the case of Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia and also the 11 years rebel war that ended 2002 in Sierra Leone, poverty and the fragile health system as in the case of the ebola epidemic virus that invaded the West African region that further broken the already weak health system that subjected the affected countries to an incredibly serious health hazard risk that slammed breaks on the drivers of socio-economic growth and development reversing growth gains in previous years subjecting the respective countries into financial and market risk, commodity risk, operational, reputational and country risk  as well as the difficulties and challenges that impede culture-traditional heritage and religious values that hold the African people together.

The laws legalizing Abortion are an expression of the act of murder with high maternal mortality rate which has a negative effect on; Religious and ethnic pride, Culture-traditional heritage values and a negative sectoral impact in the said region especially in the educational and labour sector which play a significant role of building up a capable and able human resource capital as bedrock driving indicator that positively impact in giving life to the various sectors in the country towards transforming economies from a lower to a middle and high income  which will obviously solve some of the problem associated with early pregnancy of girl child and drop out from schools as a result of poverty. Religious scholars especially the Muslims and Christians beliefs are against the act of destroying the fetus that God has created in the wombs as unlawful and unacceptable because they refer to it as an act of murder unless otherwise if and only if the life of the mother is at a serious risk then is accepted for her survival.(Quran 2 verse 228 and the Bible)

Medically, Abortion issues are always controversial and lead to complications that risk lives to untimely death because most of the medical personnel engaging in it lack the appropriate skills and causing the deaths of innocent souls.The only competent medical practitioners who can handle abortion are trained gynecologists and they are very few in Africa. The inadequacies and inavailability of medical facilities for such intervention causing a health hazard risk of perforation of the womb into the abdominal cavity that leads to; the removal of the guts, bleeding, bladder rectum or intestinal damage that results to fistula.Also the technical know how and competent of the medical personnel who are conversant with the compliance of  UN recommended drugs policy, the anatomy and who have the required surgical skills and can also handle complications.Also the high illiteracy level leads to wrong intake of drugs and also lack of appropriate medical guidelines to undertake such medical venture.It’s necessary to note that most of “The safe Abortion Act” in most Sub-Sahara Africa Countries will promote and encourage “unsafe abortion” and therefore could be counterproductive.

Legally, In developed and developing world alike, antiabortion advocates and policymakers refuse to acknowledge the facts that abortion's legal status has much less to do with how often it occurs than with whether or not it is safe, and that the surest way to actually reduce the incidence of abortion is to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy. While they debate, conceal and insist on legal prohibitions, the consequences for women, their families and society as a whole continues to be severe and undeniable. Also, the drafter of most of the abortion bills in Sub-Sahara Africa Countries fail to clearly define some of the terms in the content before enacting the law.Terms such as “abortion”,”feta” and Ministry from the title of the bill itself because if they would have attempted to define it from the outset, they would have shot themselves in the feet from the initial stage for the simple reason that the word “Abortion” means “the taking of life” and the question which rings in mind is “why should law makers attempt to take the life of someone instead of protecting it? as in the case of the recent abortion bill in Sierra Leone which is yet to be approved.Some drafters use the word Ministry in the bill but never contacted there respective Ministry of Health for technical and medical advise for the consequences of the medical health hazard risk. Also,mostly in the drafted bill a distinction is normally made for two(2) periods of pregnancy and it creates a grey area where pregnancies that are not in anyway hazardous should be terminated and that both parties –the male and female should be included in the bill and not leaving out the male folk who's a very essential indicator in such a law to be fruitful when enacted. So if the drafters should have clearly defined the main terms that would have ignited other people at the pre-stage to discourage the continuity of such a bill which also failed to clearly state the manner in which “consent” in law could be made and that if such bill are enact into Law then that will not only be a bad precedent but it will make bad laws for the welfare,economic empowerment and human livelihood for the girl child and women in the respective Countries in questioned.

Categories of Abortion could be a case of miscarriage, a case of an immature and non-viable fetus, a case of a surgical measure to terminate unwanted pregnancy most within the first 6 months, removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus to end a pregnancy and the list goes on.

Other critics would like to say the merits of the Abortion law far outweigh the de-merits but if that is true, it means they are really truly failing to put there respective Countries in the positive trajectory to alleviate the prevailing socio-economic and culture-religious and educational challenges as well as poverty alleviation which will bring value addition, increase to birth rate with an ultimate positive effect on growth and development engines in the respective Countries.The truth of the matter is, other Countries are fully matured to adopt such laws because of their socio-economic prosperity and success as in the case of developed Countries like  USA, UK, Singapore and South Korea etc. and developing Countries as in the case of China, Malaysia, India, Russia and  Brazil etc. even though there are still challenges.Let us also don’t forget the fact that most of the aforementioned countries are at the apex of global platform performance in terms of there economic, security, capital export, trade and investment as in the case of USA and China being the first and second largest economy in the world respectively, also China being the largest trading partner, industrial hub and core exporter of capital in the world. So for the African Continent especially the Sub-Sahara region to endorse the enactment of such laws is complete misplacement of  governance and legislative priorities in meeting the dying needs of the people for transforming there economies, structures and infrastructural system for opening and expansion for self sufficiency and global competitiveness.So, “African can only grow and develop to attain prosperity when the respective governance and legislatures  of Countries start to put priorities straight in meeting the needs of the people by creating the right platform  and enabling environment creating new traditions and laws that honor the dignity and humanity of every individual and empowering All the people in the continent whether young or adult, male or female, boys or girls, literate or illiterate, able or disable giving them the opportunity  to exhibit there God given talent and potential”. To prioritize the Abortion law in the African scale of preference looking at the peculiar priorities in Africa in order to fix the unfix and joining the disjoint of the prevailing human welfare and empowerment issues, then Abortion can only be found down the preference table meaning there are more important issues to be dealt with before thinking of enacting such a law.

The fact is already on the walls, if history can permit me to outlined countries that have enacted this law but failed to be fruitful as expected as in the case of Angola, Benin, Central African Rep.Chad, Congo, Côte D'Ivoire, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Gabon, Guinea- Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda etc.
Also, China was the first large developing country in 1957 to enact a liberal abortion law, but yet its hinges negatively on economic growth. The Soviet Union and the central and western Asian republics enacted similar laws in the 1950s. Over the next 50 years, abortion becomes legal on broad grounds in a wide range of less developed countries, including Cuba (1965), Singapore (1970), India (1971), Zambia (1972), Tunisia (1973), Vietnam (1975), Turkey (1983), Taiwan (1985), Mongolia (1989), South Africa (1996) and Cambodia (1997). Indeed, the worldwide trend in abortion law has continued to be toward liberalization. And since 1997, another 21 countries or populous jurisdictions have liberalized their laws, including Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran, Mexico City, Nepal Portugal and Thailand. During this same period, only 3 countries El Salvador, Nicaragua and Poland have increased restrictions.

Today, 60% of the world's 1.55 billion women of reproductive age (15–44 yrs) live in countries where abortion is broadly legal. The remaining 40% live where abortion is highly restricted, virtually all in the developing world. In Africa, 92% of women of reproductive age live under severely restrictive laws; in Latin America, 97% do. Ironically, the abortion laws governing most of the countries in these regions are holdovers from the colonial era, imposed by European countries that have long ago abandoned such restrictive laws for themselves.

In a country such as Uganda, about 300,000 abortions take place each year, notwithstanding the fact that abortion is legal only to save a woman's life. Unsafe abortion, there is a leading cause of pregnancy-related death. Moreover, at current rates, half of all Ugandan women will require treatment for complications related to abortion at some point in their lives that increases fatality rate.

The fact is that almost all unsafe abortions occur in the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, unsafe abortion is the cause of 70,000 maternal deaths each year one in eight pregnancy-related deaths among women. That translates to seven women per hour. Approximately 8 million more women per year suffer post-abortion complications that can lead to short- or long-term consequences, including anemia, prolonged weakness, chronic inflammation of the reproductive tract and secondary infertility. Out of the women who experience serious complications each year, nearly 3 million never receive treatment.

Restrictive laws have much less impact on stopping women from ending an unwanted pregnancy than on forcing those who are determined to do so to seek out clandestine means. In countries with such restrictive laws, women who can pay can sometimes find a qualified provider willing to perform an abortion. However, the vast majority of women in poor countries are too poor to avail themselves of this underground network. In Guatemala, for example, where 37% of the population live on less than $2 a day, the estimated cost of an illegal abortion carried out by a private medical doctor or in a private medical clinic ranges between $128 and $1,026. In Uganda, where 97% live on less than $2 a day, the price of an abortion from a professional source is $6–58. And in Pakistan, 66% live on less than $2 a day, and the average fee for a doctor-assisted abortion is $50–$104

Logically, the same legal consequences women get when they try to kill a child who is already born.  Roe v. Wade(1973) in his Article revealed the need not to make abortion legal, because it merely protects a woman's right to privacy, which makes enforcing actions against abortion impossible. Therefore, abortion is not a right in itself, but privacy is a right.

Interestingly, the risk of an unwanted pregnancy represents one of the major costs of sexual activity. When abortion was legalized in a number of states during the late 1960s and early 1970s revealed by Roe V. Wade in the 1973 Supreme Court case, this cost was reduced as women gained the option of terminating an unwanted pregnancy. This was a cost empirical approach that was use to investigate the Act of abortion proving it to be a and not a benefit to humanity. In the Article it was predicted that abortion legalization led to an increase in sexual activity, accompanied by an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Using CDC data on the incidence of gonorrhea and syphilis by state, and the hypothesis was tested that judicial and legislative decisions to legalize abortion lead to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases an account for as much as one third of the average disease incidence. It was proven that that gonorrhea and syphilis incidences are significantly and positively correlated with abortion legalization which impede human livelihood with a negative functional relationship to growth drivers in the Country.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) constitutes scourge of “huge socio-economic and health hazard risk in most places in the world like in the case of the most democratic and human right Countries say the United States. This fact can be certified in the Article written by the Institute of Medicine 1997, p.43.” It has been an Age long controversy for the medical practitioners has they have been exhibiting great interest in trying to understand the physiological and behavioral determinants of STD incidence.

Medical researchers are normally with a strategic focus on general changes in social attitudes, changing demographics, and changing public health practices when investigating the determinants of STD incidence, effectively disregarding the importance of incentives for individual behavior. This focus might stem from the general practice, found in most of the non-economic literature on sexuality, of attributing sexual decision-making to primarily biological and environmental influences as in the case of an Article written about the model adolescent pregnancy by Hardy and Zabin (1991) as being determined by biological make up and development, as well as family structure and community characteristics.

RECOMMENDATION:                                                                                                                                                                v  Creating quality structures and infrastructures in the health system of the respective African Countries to be on top of situations to combat health hazard risk that has a tendency to cause a country and systemic risk in the entire country as in the case of the Ebola epidemic virus in West Africa and the Zika virus in India   v  Improve on the human resource capacity of Medical personnel to be able to execute their job in an efficient and effective manner and also encourage college students by giving them scholarships to pursue their academic hopes in professional areas aiming to be medical doctors and economist etc.

 

  v  Scholarships and literacy level be enhanced through the establishment of effective structures geared towards women’s empowerment and intellectual capital   v  Providing a wide range of contraceptive methods, accompanied by simple written information to mitigate the risk of early pregnancy

 

  v  Ensuring that post-abortion family planning is the standard of care for doctors, nurses and midwives                                 v  Encouraging health professionals, especially members of FIGO, ICM and ICN, to assume an advocacy role to improve health outcomes for women by providing quality post-abortion family planning services

 

v  Government most enforce the law to prevent rape and incest act

 

v  To give banned to the proliferation of romantic films by film centers, which incubate the temptation of teenage pregnancies

 

v  The religious and traditional leaders should not relent, but be in a good position to educate people to understand their respective roles and responsibilities to mitigate and eradicate the risk associated with Abortion that hold the values of culture-religious values

 

v  The legal system should be strengthened to curb sexual crimes

In conclusion, notwithstanding the fact that between 1995 and 2003, the global abortion rate dropped by 17%. Africa and Asia saw a 12% decline during the same period, and Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a drop of 16%. In Eastern Europe, though, the abortion rate plummeted by 51%. Notably, the largest decline occurred in the former Soviet bloc countries, where abortion has been legal the longest and is widely available but yet the act is a more of Abortion is more of a cost than benefit.

It’s worth to note that approximately 42 million abortions that do occur worldwide, almost half are performed by unskilled individuals, in environments that do not meet minimum medical standards or both.Virtually all of these unsafe abortions take place in the developing world and LDC’s Country, where the un met need for contraception remains high and causing a risk to human existence.

Of the almost 42 million abortions that take place around the world each year, about 20 million are unsafe and virtually all of those occur in developing countries.Also worth nothing that each year, an estimated 5 million women are hospitalized for the treatment of abortion complications, at a cost of at least $460 million. However, even in countries with highly restrictive laws, these high financial burdens can be avoided or at least reduced through prevention. According to a case study in Nigeria, the cost of providing contraceptive services to enable women to avoid the unintended pregnancies that end in unsafe abortion would be only one-quarter of what Nigerian health facilities spend to provide post-abortion care.

So, it was based on the above findings that made me to have the strong conviction that Africa Continent especially Sub-Sahara Africa Countries are not yet ripe to enact such a law that will not only misplace governance and legislative priorities but ultimately having an adverse effects to the engines of both growth and development  for a sustainable human livelihood and better standard of living.Until otherwise when major problems like human empowerment and poverty alleviation has been put to rest, then Africa start to think of adopting such a law.

 



 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report Ted180 2016-5-7 06:03
What do you think of paying low income women to have permanent tubal ligations so poor babies will not be conceived and the population will become more wealthy?
Reply Report Kabisco751 2016-5-10 12:00
Ted180: What do you think of paying low income women to have permanent tubal ligations so poor babies will not be conceived and the population will become mor ...
It make sense paying low income women to mitigate the risk because most of the early pregnancy is as a result of poverty but the issue of tubal ligation is questionable especially in the Africa setting where there are more priorities in governance to create the enabling environment and provision for healthy human livelihood, food security, quality health system, and so on. For Africa to adopt such, more needs to be done in addressing basic necessities and then other policies ans laws would be looked in to.my take though

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