A few months ago, I had a conversation with a spanking new friend – you know one of those situations where you just meet someone and in what seems like a few hours, you discuss such a wide range of subjects that you come off feeling like you’ve known them forever? Well, it was one of those. So we go from what amounts to child abuse in the African context, to the health system to western influences on Africa to climate change. Okay, just kidding. We stopped just shy of climate change.
Anyway, we finally got to a sensitive topic – the right of a child to life. Now as a feminist, but maybe not particularly because of it, or perhaps as a narcissist, I am all for pro-choice. Or you could say I am pro-life. That is pro MY life, if it’s my life versus you know, the little rascal. The problem with being vocally pro-choice, meaning essentially being pro-abortion means that you should constantly be prepared to qualify your conviction. You must be ready to explain that you do not mean that people should carry on however they please without any form of contraception or care in the world simply because they know they can a)walk into a good and reputable hospital and b)have a safe abortion under sterile conditions, c)have counselling services extended to them d)have any mental problems that might arise as a result be handled expertly and last but not least e) expect to be able to admit it and not be treated with spite or judged.
But rather, you expect these structures to be in place, but still hope that people would in spite of them behave reasonably, take necessary precaution, care about their bodies and give thought to their physical and mental health and the unquantifiable costs of having abortions. You hope that people would not become serial abortionists simply because they can. In short, you hope that people would f$%k responsibly. You must be ready to further the argument to theorize on which is more evil, to have a child you clearly do not want versus having an abortion. You must have ready arguments at your fingertips and witty comebacks, like if someone tells you that perhaps we do not have the cure for AIDS because the person responsible for its invention was aborted. Actually, I do not have an answer for that one except to roll my eyes.
But chiefest in my line up of arguments and first in my arsenal is the firm conviction that the woman owns her body. If she does not want to have a baby, she should not have a baby. To which, you guessed it, they immediately retort that then, she needs to be more careful. And I was just waiting for you to say that, thanks for not disappointing me. I bring out my magnum opus, IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO, or is it tangle hehehe. In the sheets, it’s tangling right? That shuts them right up.
Because you see, it seems pretty straightforward. Two people have fun. And get an unplanned for fallout. But it is one person’s life that is going to be altered beyond imagining, while the other can carry on without so much as a blip on their radar. Seems pretty unfair to me especially since I am all for justice. Let the punishment fit the crime. But let both parties be punished. Now, if the woman wants to keep the child, more power to her. But if she doesn’t, then I say girl, you don’t gotta.
Well, that’s what I have always thought. But what about the man’s right, my friend asks me, the right to his child. Ah. Pretty dicey situation because you see, while I agree that the woman has a greater say she being the vessel (god I hate that word), the man has rights. It’s kinda like saying if your dog wanders into my property, I can do whatever I like with it because it is on my property and you have no say…no, this analogy sucks. I can’t think of a better one. Sorry.
I can imagine that it would be even tougher if this happened in a marriage, the woman saying I don’t want this kid (maybe kid number five) and he says well I do. I honestly, feminist or not, cannot see myself march into a clinic and have the abortion despite him. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t. I’m saying I don’t see how I can. So I coped out by saying ‘may such a thing never happen to me.’
We put the matter to rest.
But from nowhere, a few weeks ago, a troubling thought came to me, still with regards to the right of the man in the question of keeping a child. What if a man says he does NOT want to have the child? Think about it. If a man is adamant about not wanting a child, does the woman go ahead and have the child without his permission? Yes she does as has played out throughout time, but is it fair? Because the child is half his and he says he does not want his DNA walking about, isn’t this kind of like stealing sperm? Imagine that you lied about say being on the pill, isn’t this criminal? Shouldn’t he be able to force you to have an abortion? If I have the right to not want children, I feel that the man should have the same right to not have his seed in existence.
Oh this is hard.
Again please, sheath up. It’s far easier and more straightforward *sic*. Honestly.
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