Nigeria’s Catholic Bishops Criticize Health Minister Over Plans to Legalize Abortion

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 18, 2016   |   12:31PM   |   Lagos, Nigeria

Nigerian Catholic bishops are pushing back against a measure, fueled by outside influences, that they say would legalize abortion in the African nation.

All Africa reports the Catholic Bishops Conference in Nigeria issued a strong statement this week against Nigerian Minister of Health Isaac Adewole’s plans to push contraception and encourage abortion. According to the report, Adewole is collaborating with foreign organizations on the plan; however, local news reports did not provide more details about the names or missions of the foreign organizations.

Here’s more from the report:

In a communiqué issued at the end of the 3-day second plenary meeting of the province held in Akure, Ondo State on Wednesday, the clerics “condemned the recent move by the Minister of Health, Prof Adewole in collaboration with the foreign agencies to commit the federal government to increasing the culture of contraception and subsequently, abortion among our people.”

The communiqué signed by its President and Archbishop of Ibadan, Gabriel Abegunrin and Secretary, Bishop Felix Ajakaye noted that “the policy is being done all in the name of providing better maternal health and empowering our people.”

The communiqué reads: “We see such moves as deceptive to our people and harmful to moral values and we ask Nigerians to reject them.”

Ajakaye added: “Our youth and women need better power supply, potable water, good roads, better health and educational institutions more than these contraceptives. Our country must reject this relentless offer of anti-life incentives under the guise of foreign aid in order not to destroy our beautiful culture.”

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Nigeria has faced on-going pressure to legalize the killing of unborn babies. In 2015, the United Nations Population Fund told the country’s leaders that it would boost Nigerian currency if the country legalized abortion; however, Nigerian leaders rejected the offer.

The Center for Family and Human Rights Institute, or CFAM, said Nigeria is a high priority country for the population control group. CFAM’s Stefano Gennarini, J.D. explained:

Nigeria is one of several dozen UN member states to exclude a right to abortion from the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” in two targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, the most important UN agreement involving social policy in the last quarter century. The controversial terms are hardly ever mentioned at the UN without objection.

Nigeria’s reservations are not new or controversial, but they undermine the goals of the UN population agency—backed by wealthy European governments and the United States—to reduce population growth in Africa.

Nigeria is a high priority country for UNFPA. It is the most populated African country, with over 170 million inhabitants, and it is one of only 9 countries singled out by the UN experts for contributing half of all global population growth in 2050. It is also Africa’s largest economy.

In 2013, an International Planned Parenthood representative also pressured the Nigerian ambassador during a UN meeting to promote abortions, LifeNews reported. In 2009, the UN and Planned Parenthood partnered on a similar effort to push abortion on Nigeria.