AREWA and EWOMA, Nigeria

“The girl took the mixture and started bleeding profusely and was taken to the hospital. The parents could not afford the hospital initial deposit and this delayed commencement of her medical treatment”

Arewa, a 16-year-old girl from Owerri, Imo State, from a poor parental background and still attending secondary school, was impregnated by a 65-year-old rich man, who was a front sitter in the church.  She discovered she was pregnant when she missed her monthly period for 3 months. When getting to the 4 month, she told her friends and her mother noticed changes in her body size and started probing her to find out what was wrong. This was only then that she opened up to her mother.

The 65-year-old gave the girl 50,000 (320 USD) Naira for the abortion procedure. Arewa went to a patent medicine man who gave her a concoction to drink. The girl took the mixture and started bleeding profusely and was taken to the hospital. The parents could not afford the hospital initial deposit and this delayed commencement of her medical treatment. Arewa died. Till today the man who impregnated the girl and the patent medicine man are living their lives while the parents mourn their child, refusing to let out the cause of the girl’s death.

“However, while the doctor confirmed that continuing pregnancy would cause harm to the woman, he refused to practice the abortion and asked the woman to leave it to term so that she can deliver it naturally.…”

Ewoma, a married woman, mother of 2 children was pregnant with the next child, however at 9 weeks the fetus stopped growing and his heart beat stopped. When the scan again showed that the fetus was not growing, it was giving the woman very serious ache. The woman went and reported the situation to her gynecologist. She asked for the fetus to be taken out to save her from the painful stomach ache. The husband was supportive of her decision because the pregnancy was causing her bleeding and serious pain.

However, while the doctor confirmed that continuing pregnancy would cause harm to the woman, he refused to practice the abortion and asked the woman to leave it to term so that she can deliver it naturally. She did not seek a second opinion because she felt that the doctor was an expert who just came back from abroad. The woman continued with the pain and bleeding till 7 to 9 months, when the fetus started dropping out in particles. So she continued to manage the pregnancy waiting for the uterus to exhume the dead fetus as directed by the doctor. The woman for months after the last particle dropped suffered severe liquid discharge and had her organs enlarged, which caused her stomach to enlarge too. Currently, she continues receiving treatment for the complications gained for having been denied her right to therapeutic abortion.

 In Nigeria abortion is illegal, but is explicitly permitted abortion to save a women’s life. (CRR, The World’s Abortion Laws, http://www.worldabortionlaws.com/map/)

ACTIVISTS’ REFLECTIONS

Generation Initiative for Women and Youth Network

Our organization started counseling services where we educate the women, and girls on their rights to safe abortion. We strengthen our sex education program for youths especially on the use of condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies. We tried to approach the parents of the girl but they refused to disclose anything for the stigma attached to it.

We continue to raise awareness on safe abortion rights!

DEMAND ACCESS TO SAFE AND LEGAL ABORTION NOW!

(Image: http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/2009spring/2009spring_1.php)