When her mother threatened her with the consequences of getting pregnant out of wedlock, 18-year old Adiza knew she had to do something about the baby she was carrying. She could not afford to be disowned by her own mother and her society, a society that will definitely not spare her from being judged when it discovers she is pregnant out of wedlock. To her, there was only one solution, abortion.
For a teenage girl like Adiza, her mother’s threats and the fear of society’s reaction compelled her to resort to abortion. For someone like Camilla, the heroine in Sarah Quinn’s novel ‘Perfect Storm’, the words of the man who impregnated her and her own insecurities compelled her to undergo abortion.
In both instances, society and individual people played vital roles in the decision of abortion. How many of us have ever thought about the change that can happen when as a society, we were fair? If there was no fear of stigma, no fear of being a laughing stock when a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, maybe, just maybe, abortion will not be a solution anymore.
What about the mental state of these women after the abortion? How is it possible that when world mental health day is celebrated, abortion victims are never part of the topic? When we hear about someone who has undergone abortion, what comes to mind? We never realize that our stigma affects their mental health. It fuels silence in these women and thus isolate them from society, their friends and family. Depression in the long run is assured.
In recent times, abortion has been legalized in Ghana but on what basis? Is it for health reasons? There are so many questions available but yet to be asked pertaining to abortion. Do hospitals and clinics that undertake abortion issues provide counselling services to these women about abortion before they go through with it? Are other alternatives such as adoption not put on the table too?
We always seek change, change for so many things and yet we overlook so many things that also need change. Starting with our own mindsets, our own actions, our own words and our thoughts. We do not usually realize how much impact our words and actions have until they result in jeopardy. Whether consciously or not, we do not realize that someway somehow, we are contributors of abortion. Pregnancy, no matter the circumstances surrounding it, is never a mistake. A life is created, a life that deserves to live. We think and see abortion as a sin and yet, pass judgments, an action we also consider wrong.
When we preach against violence, when we can protest corruption, when we can lift our voices against all forms of abuse, then we can also protest our words and actions that drive women to resort to abortion. Maybe when we change our mindset, a lot can go right in our society.
Just like Judy, the little bunny cop from ‘Zootopia’ said:
Change begins with me, begins with you, begins with all of us.
Abortion may be a sin but stigmatization and unwarranted judgments are not right either. If abortion is not an option for a critical health situation, then say no to it.