A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Sonnie Ekwowusi, has faulted the new abortion bill, which seeks to allow Nigerian girls and women unimpeded access to abortion.
Ekwowusi, in a statement, described the new abortion bill as a big setback to the empowerment of Nigerian women and urged the federal government not to succumb to the pressure being mounted by international agencies to get abortion legalised in the country especially at this election period.
According to him, what Nigerian women need to stay alive is authentic educational, economic, social, cultural and spiritual empowerment, not abortion empowerment.
He said abortion is not like food or essential medicine that every woman needs to consume in order to stay alive.
Public Hearing on the new abortion bill coined ‘Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill’ (VAPP) comes up at the Senate today.
Ekwowusi explained that the import of the VAPP Bill is that abortion is a woman’s choice and that women are entitled to have access to all safe, effective means of controlling their family size, including abortion.
“A woman has a right to make decisions regarding her own body. Denying women access to abortion is a form of gender discrimination. Safe abortions services protect women’s right to health.
“IPAS, an international abortion lobby group, together with the DFID, UNFPA and others, has been mounting pressure on the Senate to pass the VAPP Bill so that President Goodluck Jonathan should assent to it before the new swearing in of a new president. The VAPP Bill has already passed through the House of Representatives,” he stated.
The lawyer recalled that Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, once passed an abortion law entitled, Imo State Law of Nigeria Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law No 12 about four years ago but was forced by the citizens of Imo State to get the Imo State House of Assembly to repeal it.
Ekwowusi said abortion is illegal, unconstitutional and the greatest violence against women in Nigeria.