RE: “We should re-examine the abortion law” (The New Times, October 2).
It’s interesting to see the impassioned arguments for the pro-life camp and I will start by pointing out the obvious fact that both were made by men who will never be held accountable for their role in the woman’s choice.
The great fallacy is that legalizing abortion will increase the number of terminations per year while in fact a comprehensive study by the World Health Organization found that the numbers are almost at par in countries where abortion is legal and those where it is not.
The biggest discrepancy came in the number of women who die during the procedure, which of course are way higher in countries where abortion is illegal simply because women are taking risky measures to terminate their pregnancies.
For example, the number of abortion-related deaths fell by over 90 per cent when it was legalized in South Africa.
The fact of the matter is the demographic most likely to seek an abortion are girls under 20 who are quite frankly unable to take care of a child.
Is our response really going to be sending them to jail for making the wrong choice, one that no one of that age should be making? Some have even suggested life imprisonment for such people; is that really a reasonable sentence for a girl who made such a decision out of sheer despair? And if indeed this is going to be our stance, will these harsh laws really act as a deterrent?
The insinuation that legalizing abortion will immediately send Rwanda’s womenfolk into an abortion frenzy is somewhat insulting.
Being a mother is an aspiration for almost all women and not one of them makes the decision to terminate without careful consideration. Our role as adults and responsible Rwandans should be to teach our girls to be sexually responsible, preferably to abstain until they are mature enough to make responsible choices, take advantage of the myriad of contraceptive options and understand the difference between an adult relationship and one where their naiveté is being taken advantage of.
However, for the few that fall through the cracks, we should never condemn them for having to visit quack doctors thus risking any chance of having children in the future or even death.
All the arguments are valuable. I would suggest that as we protect the babies’ lives, we also protect them by protecting their mothers.
It is unfortunate not to punish the men who abandon these women. They should also bear the responsibility of their acts.
I would suggest support centres for these women and young girls where they can get shelter to support them during financial and emotional hardship due to their pregnancy. Because both lives – mother and baby’s –are so important, neglecting these women and requesting that they respect the life they carry inside them is very unfair.