By CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI — Despite Governor Rochas Okorocha’s recant on the Imo State’s abortion law, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, said yesterday, that the campaign against the legislation was not yet over, noting that the Gender and Equal Opportunity Law signed by Chief Achike Udenwa in 2007 was still in force.
Obinna made his view known while reacting to Okorocha’s public apology and the executive bill he forwarded to the legislature for amendment of the controversial abortion law he signed on May 29, 2011.
Archbishop Obinna said: “Nobody should be fooled by what the governor did last Tuesday. Imo State is still under the firm grip of the abortion law signed by Chief Achike Udenwa in 2007.”
Section 18 (e) of Law No. 7 of 2007 read: “Medical termination in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the health of the mother or the married girl child on the advice of a medical doctor”.
While noting other vexatious sections in the laws signed by both Udenwa and Okorocha, the Archbishop also opined that the best thing to do about a bad law was to repeal it completely.
Chairman, Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, ACMPN, Dr. Phillip Njemanze, described Okorocha’s move as “deceptive”.
He said the abortion law in the state remained in force, even with the repeal of Law 12 of 2011, despite the apology tendered by Governor Okorocha and the House of Assembly’s Deputy Speaker, Mr. Donatus Ozoemena.
He argued that pregnancy was not a disease which, under the circumstances, would have to be terminated to regain health.
Njemanze also stressed that Law number 7 failed to define what it meant by “health”, adding that “even headache could be assessed as a threat, hence this law provides for legalization of abortion at any time during the nine months of pregnancy under the term, medical termination.