YWCA Nigeria Sends Mixed Messages on Abortion to UN

International   |   Stefano Gennarini, J.D.   |   Mar 8, 2012   |   5:36PM   |   New York, NY

New York, NY (CFAM/LifeNews) — The Young Women’s Christian Association of Nigeria (YWCA) sent mixed messages about their position on abortion when it presented a graphic documentary about “unsafe abortion” at an event held at the Church Center for the United Nations on Monday.

YWCA of Nigeria organized a parallel event titled “Women’s Burden of Unsafe Abortion: Implications for Nigeria’s Development” during the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council of the UN that meets annually to address issues affecting women.

The centerpiece of the event was a 15 minute documentary detailing the consequences of so called “unsafe abortion” on Nigerian women. It uses graphic images to drive the point home. These included pictures of unborn babies that had been aborted, dead mothers, and a picture of the dilated cervix of a woman whose intestine was protruding as a result of a uterine perforation from an induced abortion. The filming was completed in Nigeria only a month ago, and the film will be used by the YWCA to raise awareness about unsafe abortion in Nigeria.

The documentary cited data on maternal mortality collected by the World Health Organization as well as the pro-abortion advocacy group the Center for Reproductive Rights. The YWCA representatives and the video claimed that the burden of “unsafe abortion” fell disproportionately on poor women. A Nigerian barrister, Chukwe Oduogba, who spoke at the event, called for a change in Nigeria’s laws consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s understanding of Privacy Rights.

Sussie Metu, the National General Secretary of YWCA of Nigeria told the Friday Fax that her organization does not promote abortion as a human right, and on the contrary is “advocating abstinence and being faithful first and foremost.” She told the Friday Fax that YWCA Nigeria is a Christian grassroots organization “primarily based in churches” that cuts across all age groups and that they were “not going to procure abortions.”

Ms. Metu said the documentary is in line with the global YWCA’s approach to reproductive health and rights, and in tune with the Millennium Development Goals and her organization’s consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

The message from the YWCA is confusing. It appears they have adopted the maternal mortality mantra of United Nations agencies, like the WHO, that propagate a new doctrine of “unsafe abortion,” but they do not seem to understand the implications of this. For years abortion was called a woman’s right to choose, now it has become the right of women to be free from “unsafe abortion.” There is a false assumption that legal abortions are safe.

Nigeria is the country with the largest Christian population in Africa. Abortion is considered an abomination by most Nigerians, and is only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk. Unsurprisingly, some of those attending Monday’s event asked probing questions and proposed abstinence education and help to mothers as opposed to relaxing abortion restrictions. Whenever anyone mentioned abstinence and morals they were treated to cheering and thunderous applause.

LifeNews.com Note: Stefano Gennarini, J.D., and Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.write for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.