The move by the Lagos State Government to legalise the procurement of abortion through legislative guidelines has attracted wide condemnation by pro-life groups and the millions of Catholics in the state. They have vowed to resist the move.
According to Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the Director of Social Communications, Lagos Archdiocese, they warned that the argument by the state Ministry of Health for giving guidelines for the termination of pregnancy on so-called health grounds was nothing but a means of legalising abortion through the backdoor, insisting that it is not only unjustifiable, but also unacceptable, adding that: “The guidelines are nothing but a way of creating room for indiscriminate procurement of abortion.”
Recently, the State Government, through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, unveiled a 40-page policy document, tagged: “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” meant to facilitate legal termination of pregnancy in the state.
But in a sharp reaction to the move, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, said it was untrue that all stakeholders were consulted in the process of drawing up the guidelines. “The issue of abortion touches very much on ethical and religious sensibilities, and religious bodies were not consulted, certainly the millions of Catholics who have always maintained their strong opposition to legalisation of abortion in any guise were not consulted.”
According to him, the baby in the womb is a person that is distinct from the mother even though he is in the mother’s womb, and so not even the mother has the right to kill him, talk less of the government purporting to give legal backing for their murder.
The Prelate added: “The Catholic Church and all ethically-minded people oppose all forms of abortion procedures whose direct purpose is to terminate the life of a baby in the womb. The unborn child has the right to live and be protected and not to be killed by the fiat of an unjust law. We believe strongly that every human life must be respected and protected especially the most vulnerable ones in the womb from the moment of their conception.
“There is nothing like an unwanted child because every child is a gift from God that should be nurtured and allowed to grow in fulfilment of their purpose in life. We need to continue to explore ways of providing support for those women who find themselves in difficulty as a result of their pregnancy rather than thinking of aborting a child who is innocent of the difficulty that the mother may be going through. Any attempt to terminate the life of the unborn child is tantamount to murder and should be treated as a capital offence.
“Our focus, therefore, should be on proper enlightenment on human sexuality and collaboration in order to support women who fall pregnant without being ready for the pregnancy.”
He wondered why the Lagos State Government seemed anxious to legalise abortion, at a time when even the United States of America and other more advanced countries are reviewing their positions on legalisation of abortion as seen in the recent judgement of the Supreme Court of the United States of America on the matter.
The Archbishop, therefore, called on the Governor of the State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to quickly use his good offices to call the Ministry of Health to order and stop the implementation of the guidelines on the so-called safe termination of pregnancies.
“The ministry did not consult wide enough as to find the best approach to safeguarding the lives of pregnant women which the guidelines were supposed to protect.”