Women deserve better life, not contraception
I read the article entitled; Women deserve access to Information on Contraception (Charles Akpeji, The Guardian Newspaper of September 28, 2021) with a keen interest. Can an action be termed good if it brings to birth real evils? The writer suggests that in times of fiscal uncertainty such as the COVID-19 pandemic, childbearing should be delayed and abortion prescribed for pregnant women. Haba! The writer wrongly pontificates that women deserve access to quality and accurate information, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception of choice.
Mr. Akpeji is wrong. Women deserve better life not contraception. Contraception destroys women. One thing the COVID pandemic teaches us is to place things in order of priority. Reading Mr. Akpeji’s article, I do not find a direct point highlighting the challenges of women in these times of COVID-19.
The challenges faced by most Nigerian women at present are low-standard-of-living challenges, including living in a society that has now come to disregard the contribution of women to the society especially with regard to the bearing of children which is an extremely important contribution to the growth of a society; economically and socially. Instead of prescribing artificial contraception to Nigerian women, efforts should be made to improve their general health care system as well as ideal working hours for them after child birth.
The shame associated with child bearing at various stages of life; married or unmarried, young or old should not bother us. People constantly ask pregnant women; “Are you pregnant again? You are too old, or too young to have another baby”. My point is not that whether these questions are true or untrue; there is a stigma associated with pregnancy. Why? Pregnancy is not a disease. It is a way of bringing children into the world. Life is live and let live. Why stop children from coming into the world when you have been allowed to come into the world?
The responsibility of health practitioners is to support patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health. Women and girls deserve to be at least told the truth about abortion and abortificient pills enthusiastically being pushed as a solution for their problems. They need to be told the entire truth in order to make informed choices. I do not believe that if a cancer medication could treat malaria effectively (or not so effectively) patients would be advised to take them.
It is a fact that in recent times, women and teenage girls are becoming sexually active. But the solution is to teach these sexually active girls and women to live a chaste life: the solution is not to push forward a contraception theory that seeks to misinform women who might already be faced with life changing experiences.
All hormonal contraception attempts to prevent ovulation by delivering the body a steady spike of synthetic hormones. For the pill, this is delivered every 24 hours you take it. For the vaginal ring, it’s constantly delivered over the 21-day cycle of wearing it. For the (hormonal) IUD, it’s a constant stream of hormones being released from the device for years while wearing it.
It is also a fact that these contraceptives have dangerous side effects that could result in death. These pills and devices negatively impact the lives of women and so it’s important that women know what these risks are and effectively determine if they would rather face the risk of a pregnancy or the risk of these ailments. Some of these ailments include: Autoimmune diseases, blood clots, cancer, copper toxicity, loss of libido, mood changes including depression and liver malfunction.
In several countries around the world, several lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of these drugs causing the aforesaid ailments. To be very realistic, our country Nigeria does not have the capacity to even diagnose or actively care for women who might suffer from these side effects and even if a few hospitals could, it would come at a serious cost which the average Nigerian woman would find difficult to afford, owing from both the onset of the pandemic as well as the economic downturn.
In summary, these unethical and unsafe methods of terminating pregnancies with pills, injections etc. are unnecessary risks especially when weighed against the dangerous side effects of these pills. There are options to delay childbirth or even in the event of childbirth to give up the children to many willing loving families whilst receiving support from the government and the entire community. There are safe and cheap options which any person who truly cares for women should offer women such as the fertility awareness programmme, which helps women to have their babies whenever they want without taking the dangerous pills. Yes, women deserve better life than artificial contraceptives!
Ms Abba lives in Lagos