When I got this topic from my very good friend (Bismark) to write on it, the impression he made on me was of the fact that the general public thinks of abortion as a procedure. He made me think he was seeing abortion as maybe an operation. Something where one has to enter into the woman’s womb and yank out the pikin wey dey inside am.
Well quite the opposite. And for clarification purposes I’ll go on to do justice to this misconception and also throw more light on it.
Well, I know some women might have heard doctors say she had an ‘abortion’ when clearly she knows she has never removed her pregnancy. Hence the general public might define abortion as the wanted removal of pregnancy by a woman that gives consent. But to us in the medical field abortion simply is the termination of pregnancy before the fetus reaches ‘the age of viability’. And by this so-called age of viability we mean the number of weeks when half the number of babies born alive in a particular environment will likely survive. And in Nigeria this means the 28th week of pregnancy.
Chai, so much grammar abi, anyhow sha, to us abortion simply means pikin wey dey inside womb don die before e reach 28 weeks pregnancy.
Types Of Abortion
There are two types of abortion. The one that happened on its own popularly known as miscarriage, what we call spontaneous abortion. And the one wey person use im hand do, this being what most people know as abortion. But I’ll still prefer to term it Induced Abortion.
Hmm, so we’ll talk about that last one only.
Why do people want induced abortion?
Reasons for this plenty. Generally people go for induced abortion because they don’t want to keep the pregnancy. Pretty simple, eh? Anyhow sha that’s the bottom line reason there, any other thing na just jara.
The jara can include, being too young and unmarried especially in our environment. Na only oyibo people wey dey talk of abortion inside marriage.
Other reasons could be to avoid the social discrimination that comes with being a pregnant spinster, to further ones education. Well that’s it o, more reasons may be added later.
Who gives an induced abortion?
An abortionist. This can be anybody. The one who prescribes the abortive pills, the one who gives the operative procedures.
What does the Nigerian law say about abortion?
The law does not support abortions for some non-medical reasons. In fact it is a very tricky and thin area, this abortion thing. Very dicey. In Nigeria it is a criminal offence to give or partake in induced abortion in any way.
What are the ways one can get induced abortion?
There are different means or types of induced abortion. It could be by oral drugs, this being the commonly used. It could also be by operative procedures, what my guy was thinking of. This operative procedure involves a lot of things depending on the giver. And here it really gets very ugly.
Some quacks and untrained abortionists use a sort of probe which they simply introduce into the woman’s womb to cause bleeding. Some do what is called dilatation and curettage. Some use manual vacuum aspirator another big instrument. Note that there are lots of credible medical reasons for induced abortion but for want of sending out a particular line of message, we’ll not delve into those reasons now.
Unsafe abortion and it’s demerits
Unsafe abortion is one of highest killer of mothers. Death?, yes that’s what this mostly leads to amongst other things. Infertility, sexually transmitted diseases, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, that is a woman carrying a baby in any place apart from where it should be inside the womb.
Just so you know, it’s a grey area. But medical doctors are allowed to give induced abortion when there are medical reasons for it. And any doctor whose personal views are against abortion is encouraged to refer such a case to another medical Doctor who can.
No doctor is forced to give it, but if you can’t, simply refer to someone who will.
Ejike Udeze is a health personnel at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). Ejike is always in search of new medical discoveries and breakthrough. You can reach him on Facebook by clicking here or with his name “Ejike Udeze.“