TO ABORT OR NOT TO ABORT?
A scholar and cleric Dr Given Mutinta has weighed in on the debate on whether one of the kidnapping survivors who was impregnated by her abductors should terminate the pregnancy or not.
Below is his thought provoking write up:
ABORTION FOR ABDUCTION VICTIM
The report, if true, that one of the twelve young women who were abducted is pregnant for one of the abductors makes a sad reading.
A debate is raging whether the young woman should keep or terminate her pregnancy.
As a pro-lifer, she should keep the pregnancy because intentional abortion is murder of a human being.
Once conception in particular the fertilisation; the union between the sperm and egg has taken place, the result is the embryo.
The embryo is a genetically new human life organised as a distinct entity oriented towards further development as a biologically individuated member of the human species. It is a human being and commands such a degree of respect as to prohibit destructive actions such as abortion.
It is an old fact that from a biological point of view, there is no argument as to when human life begins. Evidence from eminent scientists from all over the world shows that human life begins at conception.
Regardless of the circumstances of conception; raped, or under abduction or duress, considering abortion which is direct killing of a human being who has nothing to do with the abduction fiasco in the Chalala township of Lusaka is a violation of the rights of the unborn youngest member of our society and the human family.
Therefore, abortion is, thus not just a matter of personal choice, religious view or women’s rights, but a basic human rights and social justice issue.
We are all are called to respect human life at all stages, and to ensure a society where crimes of violence or murder are as far as possible prevented.
Human life is sacred and must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.
The circumstance in which the young woman conceived, as an abductee, is cruel and unacceptable but cannot be used to raise questions about abortion because no one has a right to directly and intentionally terminate pregnancy before viability or to directly and intentionally destroy a viable foetus.
It is wrong to take any action that has, as its sole and direct purpose, the ending of human life in the womb.
Regardless of the situation surrounding the conception, the innocent and unborn child of the abductee should be respected and treated as a person; and therefore from that same moment of conception his or her rights as a person must be recognised, among which the first is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.
Therefore, encouraging the pregnant abductee to abort does not offer an authentic solution to the crisis she is facing.
Encouraging her to abort is responding to her trauma by offering a second trauma, which does not make sense. It exacerbates the original act of violence of abduction and probably of sexual assault with yet more violence of abortion.
Instead of encouraging the young woman to abort, she needs love and support from family, friends, government, and non-government organisations along with the reassurance that she can get through this together with us as society.
What she needs is the love, hope and compassion to buoy her up as she is facing uncertainty about her own future.
If supported generously, though it is a hard road to walk, she will one day look back on what happened and express her relief that she was not offered the chance to destroy her own child following an abduction.
Rather than targeting an innocent bystander, we should target the abductor who carried out the assault.
This is a challenge to the government to invest in human capacity building and technology to enable security wings fight sophisticated organised crimes such as abduction, terrorism, and others.
This will make it difficult for perpetrators of such crimes to cover their tracks, and will enhance the safety and protection of citizens.
In conclusion, intended abortion is a crime against human life and obtaining an abortion or encouraging or helping the young woman to obtain an abortion is being an accomplice to murder.