I ought to have six children but I have four. The oldest is fifteen years old, the youngest, five. The oldest two ought to be twenty two and seventeen years old but they are not here. This is the story of the two who did not make it.
In my final year in the university, my girl friend walked into my room on a day that had witnessed such torrential rain fall that it was very cold. When I noticed that in spite of the very cold weather she was sweating, I knew she had â€˜badâ€™ news even before she delivered it. She was pregnant. It was my first experience and it left me numb with equal doses of shock and fear. I can not remember what I said to an equally frightened girl but by the time she left my room back to her school, we had settled for abortion as our only option.
After she left my room, I examined the option, checked my finances, took counsel with myself and decided on another personal game plan. I had less than a month to finish my degree examination. She was a new flame. Immediately I finished my exams, I left town and disappeared. I can now imagine what she must have felt when she showed up in my room to be told I had gone and no one, acting according to my plan seemed to know how to reach me. She was left high and dry and alone.
When my NYSC posting dispatched me to serve in Yola, I felt I was sufficiently far away from her to worry. I sent letters to my room mates and begged one of them to visit her in school to check out her stomach and confirm if she was still carrying the pregnancy. His reply confirmed her stomach was very flat at a time she ought to be at least six months pregnant. She had evacuated it. Evacuation was a term that was in vogue back then. On reflection, the word accorded more respect to the contents of a refuse bin than a baby in the womb.
The most prevalent mode of abortion in Nigeria is called dilation and curettage otherwise popularly known as D&C. According to information obtained from Grassfire.org, â€˜The D&C abortion is done before 12 weeks. A hook shaped knife is inserted into the uterus and cuts the baby into small pieces. His head is crushed with the forceps to allow removal through the narrow passage. The womb is then scraped out completely. Bleeding is sometimes profuse.â€™ Think about it. Which part of my babies (including a second abortion five years later by another friend) came out first -the right hand or left foot? Or was it part of its stomach? If my babies could have cried out when the first part was violently yanked off, it could have been â€˜daddy, mummy, save me!â€™ Unknown to it, mummy and daddy have sacrificed them. Imagine for a moment the indescribable pain my babies felt and the silent screams that only God could have heard.
Years later, I ran into her on Marina, in Lagos. I could have given any thing for the ground to open up and swallow me but it refused to cooperate. So, on solid ground I stood and mumbled. My guilt at abandoning her when she was pregnant made my shame complete. She displayed no emotions, which multiplied my misery. Long after she left, I mobbed sweat ceaselessly for the rest of that day. I do not recall if I had asked her to forgive me and may never know if she will ever forgive me. I can only imagine what she went through alone. The biggest question of all is; can the babies we aborted and God ever forgive us?
A Peace of Minnesota member who experienced abortion personally wrote this in a tract: â€˜Before you even know you are pregnant, your babyâ€™s heart begins to beat. At six weeks brain waves are measurable and your baby moves and responds to touch. At eight weeks she is perfectly developed, with fingers and toes, even her own set of finger prints. By ten weeks she can squint, swallow and suck her thumb. If you tickled her nose she would move her head away. By eleven to twelve weeks all body systems are present and working. All she needs to become a healthy new born is time and nourishment. Nothing new develops after twelve weeks.â€™ There is nothing more to add to this. Abortion is nothing short of murder.
In the old testament of the Bible, sacrifices made to God were of various kinds of animals, depending on the situation. The guide lines were strictly of young, unblemished animals, without defects. The lamb, a harmless, peaceful animal was commonly used. Satan, the ultimate copy cat now gets at least 50 million abortions annually, of harmless, peaceful, unblemished babies, without defect as sacrifices to him. My contribution to this gory, blood soaked statistics is two.
Are we surprised Satan seems to be winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the world? It is now a world that pays so much attention to animal rights but pays little or no attention to unborn babies in large parts of the world. Sex outside marriage is seen as merely meeting biological needs and no longer a sin. It is a world that seeks to glamourise sex, clothing it in pleasure, power, and mystery. It is a world that celebrates same sex marriages. It is a world where medical doctors, as recently reported in France, now recreate or construct virginal hymen of sexually active women to create fake and false virgins.
It is not only young people that carry out abortions. Married couples also do it for various reasons. Some do it because they believe they are too old to have babies or because they are done with rearing children or already have enough or for financial disability. So they call such pregnancies â€˜mistakesâ€™ or â€˜unwantedâ€™ and head for the abortion clinic. It does not matter what the reason is, abortion is murder of your own child. No child is a mistake because God knew them by name long before they were conceived. As Rick Warren wrote in the â€˜Purpose Driven Life,â€™ there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.
It is possible some will assume that what makes abortion evil is the cruel D&C method that is prevalent in Nigeria. No type of abortion is good because its aim is to kill your own child. According to grassfire.org, suction abortion which is used before ten weeks, involves inserting a tube into the uterus, â€˜connected to a strong suction machine. The vacuum is so powerful the baby is ripped to pieces and sucked into a jar-arms, legs, torso and head.â€™
Another type is called prostaglandin abortion. This method injects a hormone drug into the amniotic sac to induce labour and premature birth. â€˜The baby in most cases is born alive with a heart beat and is put aside to die.â€™
With saline abortion, â€˜a strong poison solution of salt is injected, through the belly, into the amniotic sac. The helpless baby is forced to swallow this deadly poison. He suffers severely, he kicks and jerks violently. He is being burned alive, his skin peels off. Twenty four to forty eight hours later, the mother delivers a dead baby.â€™
Again, grassfire.org describes what happens in hysterotomy abortion; â€˜as in a caesarean section, the abdomen is cut open and the baby is lifted out while he moves, squirms, fights to breathe and sometimes cries. While his heart is beating, he is left to die.â€™
At the time I did the two abortions, I did not know the kind of horror aborted babies go through. Knowing it now makes the pain numbing for me. It is made worst by the realisation that they were not things or foetuses but human beings. I will never celebrate their birthdays, or graduations, or weddings. They will never call me daddy, not because they did not want to but because I did not give them the chance to do that.
An aborted baby means aborted purposes and destinies. I will never know if my babies would have become doctors, engineers, lawyers or great thinkers. Perhaps if you give your own baby a chance and let it live, he/her may grow up to become another Nelson Mandela, another Thomas Edison, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Oprah Winfrey, Professors Dora Akunyili, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka or the inventor of the cures for HIV Aids and cancer.
There are many like this writer who bear unseen physical, spiritual and emotional scars. Studies have shown that about 16% of women who have had one or two D&C abortions will have complications with future pregnancies. The risk is higher for those with three D&Cs at 32%. The complications with future pregnancies include ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages and abnormal placentation.
The emotional scars are as deep, resilient and damaging as the physical ones, especially for those who repeatedly but unsuccessfully are still seeking the fruit of the womb, years after they carried out abortions. In their childlessness, many live in regret because of the babies they aborted and wonder if their predicament is a punishment for blood that still cries out to God. Exceptional feelings of guilt, suicidal tendencies, warped or twisted maternal instincts and inability to be affectionate are some of the manifestations of this emotional crisis.
How do you assuage and put closure to blood guilt associated with abortions? The only one who can help us if we are truly repentant is God. Make peace with Him and our babies. Then tell every one you know that abortion is murder and let them pass on the message. Years ago, I ran two adverts in The Sun with the same title as this write up. I stopped because of financial constraints but hope to start again soon. Find a way that is unique to you to let people know how much evil is wrapped up in every act of abortion.
In trying to justify abortion, some people will attempt to make the baby in the womb look like excess baggage that can be easily off loaded, by describing them as â€˜foetal tissueâ€™, â€˜content of the uterus,â€™ or â€˜product of conception.â€™ Now you know better. Every one who will read this started as a â€˜product of conception.â€™ If you are not a â€˜thingâ€™ today, you were not a thing back then, no matter how far back you go.
Even though you will never know the sex of your aborted babies, give them names.
This I believe will make them more human than foetuses. Celebrate them because they still live with the Lord who first knew them by name.