Abortion! I’d almost forgotten that such a word exists until last Thursday. The gist was that a former neighbour’s teenage daughter died last week due to complications from an illegal abortion. No sooner had I walked into my regular salon in the area, did my hair dresser, wearing a forlorn face ask if I had stopped at Mummy Seni’s house. I said no and asked why. “Did something happen to her?
“So you have not heard. Jumoke, Mummy Seni’s daughter is dead oh!!
“Dead ke, what happened”?
“That’s how we saw it oh! They said she had food poisoning”.
“Food poisoning bawo! Mummy Seni couldn’t have been that careless now, abi someone poisoned her ni?
“Ohh oh! You say so too. That was what many of us also said oh! In short, people are saying it is a lie. That it was something else that happened to her”.
“Ehn ehn! Like what”? I was now very eager for the gist which I knew was coming.
“You know mummy Labake now”.
I frowned, racking my brain to figure out who that was.
“Mummy Labake that lives next door to them. The one that sells provisions down your street. Jumoke and Labake are friends. They attend the same school”.
“Really? Okay, so what did she say”?
“It was Labake that told her mother that Jumoke was pregnant and had an abortion”.
“Abortion? This girl has killed herself for nothing oh! I hope they know who was responsible for the pregnancy”?
“Labake mentioned the boy’s name but he has denied everything. Even his parents said they were not aware that there was anything between them”.
“Before nko? What will they say? It is Jumoke’s parents and loved ones that will bear the pains and loss. If it is true, nemesis will surely catch up with him some day”, I said.
I made a mental note to stop over at Mummy Seni’s place to condole with her later as we continued the discussion and shared stories on the havoc abortion has brought on many homes.
There is no gain saying that induced abortion is illegal in Nigeria, except when performed to save the life of the mother. Thus many women resort to unwholesome and unsafe abortion methods. The Guttmacher Institute in a research estimated that about 456,000 unsafe abortions are performed in Nigeria every year. Unsafe abortions often lead to complications and sometimes, death. It is a crime that attracts as much as 14years imprisonment, if convicted. However, this has not deterred people from committing abortion. Please note that this article is not intended to condemn abortion nor advocate for its legalization in Nigeria. Everyone has a right to their views, just as they must answer to their conscience. This article is written to draw attention to the reality of our situation, as opposed to the make believe and hypocrisy of our society. So, I dug into my archives to unearth this interview I conducted with a medical doctor on the issue many years back. I think it is a timeless piece as everything he said still stands true today. Abortion! I’d almost forgotten that such a word exists until last Thursday. The gist was that a former neighbour’s teenage daughter died last week due to complications from an illegal abortion. No sooner had I walked into my regular salon in the area, did my hair dresser, wearing a forlorn face ask if I had stopped at Mummy Seni’s house. I said no and asked why. “Did something happen to her?
Revelations of an abortionist
The expose below, as you will find contains a lot of jargon used in the medical profession. In fact, you are reading the narratives of a medical doctor who in the course of his career has had to help many of his patients terminate unwanted pregnancies. Needless to say, he has chosen not to be identified. Read on:
“Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy before the 38 weeks of gestation. There are two types of abortion, the spontaneous abortion which could also be referred to as miscarriage and the induced abortion for unwanted pregnancies.
This can be done within the first and second trimester, lasting a period of 24 to 26 weeks.
Abortion, when performed under the first trimester is popularly known as the D and C which means Dilatation and Curettage. Dilatation is the opening up of the cervix by the use of a Dilator while curettage means cleaning out the womb with a metal curette or plastic suction curette.
Abortion performed under the second trimester is done by inducement of labour. There are two methods – medical and surgical, depending on the circumstances, the idea being to stimulate the uterus to go into labour prematurely.
There are different reasons why people seek abortion. For married couples it is mainly for economic reasons. However, many seek abortion largely due to ignorance or neglect of family planning.
There are also those that I would like to refer to as the adventure seekers. These are teenagers or singles in which case the pregnancy is not wanted. For both groups however a fourth reason could be the failure of contraception.
Abortion is dangerous when performed by a quack doctor. The result may cost the patient her life. There are three distinct dangers.
* Septic Abortion: Infection involving the womb, uterus and abdomen.
* Haemorrhage: Extensive blood loss.
* Uterine Perforation: Tearing or puncturing of the womb.
Since each of these is life-threatening if care is not taken, the best thing is to steer clear of quacks.
I have been in the business for 13 years. I am a qualified gynaecologist. I have been performing this operation right from my college days. We used to use it for our private practice. In all my years I have never had any bad experience because I know the job.
The act is very simple, taking nothing more than 15-20 minutes if it’s with a very good patient. There have been occasions when we had problems with patients who would have turned the whole thing into disastrous situations. On occasions when I see very fidgety patients, I place them on anaesthetics. It only means more time and so it is more expensive for the patient. I guess if the first time I performed the operation had been a disaster, I would have backed out of the business. But it went right and since then, I have not had cause to look back ever. There could have been just one incidence when the patient refused to wake up after the operation. It would have resulted in a big problem, but eventually, I was able to revive her. However, I will be able to operate without hindrance if the government were to legalize the operation, at least, considerably.
Abortion is perhaps one of the most common medical operations being performed in our country today. Women of all ages seek abortion. You will be surprised at the rate teenagers seek this thing. I have operated a school girl of 13 years old. She was impregnated by their driver who brought her to the clinic when he was supposed to take her to school. Of course the family couldn’t have suspected that a driver who was being used as a safeguard for keeping their daughter out of trouble by taking her to school and bringing her home; could turn out to be the devil himself. This girl came in her school uniform and wore a pair of stockings. This is to let you know how young the girl was. I had to put her to sleep before I could do it”.
Don’t you see yourself, as a murderer?
“No. I do not see myself as a murderer, at least, not before this interview. I would rather consider myself as helping distressed people to end their problems. I am rendering a social service so to speak, in helping to reduce our increasing population. I mean, I am only helping them to get rid of unwanted babies. If I don’t do it, someone else will. Again, it will be unfortunate for both the baby and the parents in question if they fell into the wrong hands. You may also say that I am in support of legalising abortion. For sure, it will squeeze out the quacks. It’s only women who have fallen victims of these quacks that can tell you their experiences.
The law will also help to improve the lots of our women who I believe should be given the right to decide whether to have a baby or not. The government was considering this about a year ago. However, because of stiff opposition from religious groups, particularly the Catholic Church, the law did not see the light of the day.
I strongly believe that this should be reviewed, maybe with clauses which stipulate the categories of women that can seek the services. Right now, it is constitutionally illegal, but the law is obsolete and cannot be enforced or monitored. We will only be fooling ourselves if we ignore this fact. Thousands of women seek abortion daily. I can categorically say that abortion is one of the operations which helps sustain the existence of many of these small clinics you find all over the place. It will remain with us for as long as adequate awareness and accessibility to contraceptives are lacking. It is becoming quite difficult to curb the sexuality of young ones, not to mention the adults. A drive around the cities will prove this fact.
Apart from the fear of falling victims to quacks, I believe that, legalising abortion will assist in unveiling the false cloak around sex in particular. A lot of parents will rather shy away from telling their children about their sexuality. Instead of helping to build their awareness about it, they treat the subject as a taboo and create so much fear into the poor children, forgetting that this may only increase their urge to find out the truth.
These children rather than confide in their parents, seek possible solutions from friends who don’t know better themselves. The result is usually death, because you will be amazed at the compositions of the concoctions they consume. It is only the families of these young girls that can recount their agony. The whole issue is very pregnant and volatile. I am sure I have said enough.”
Hmm! Do have a wonderful weekend!!