Nigeria Military Allegedly Forced 10,000 Women and Girls to Have Abortions

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 9, 2022   |   1:57PM   |   Washington, DC

A horrific new investigation reveals that at least 10,000 unborn babies may have been forcibly aborted by the Nigerian Military since 2013.

Reuters released the report this week based on documents and accounts from dozens of women and girls, civilian healthcare workers and soldiers about a secret abortion program inside the African country’s military.

Women and girls as young as 12 who had been kidnapped and raped by Islamic extremists in the northern part of Nigeria said they were forced to abort their unborn babies by the Nigerian military soldiers who rescued them.

The Street Journal reports witnesses and the women themselves said they were beaten and threatened if they tried to save their unborn babies’ lives, with some being physically held down and forced to take abortion drugs. Others said they saw several women die along with their unborn babies from forced abortions.

Some soldiers admitted to lying to the women whom they had rescued, telling them the injections and drugs were for malaria or other maladies when their real purpose was to kill their unborn babies.

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At least two military generals have denied the allegations. During a press conference Thursday in Abuja, General Lucky Irabor slammed the report as “nonsense” and refused to conduct an investigation, according to one Nigerian news outlet.

“It never occurred,” Irabor said. “I never saw anything like that from Maiduguri down to Maimalamari Cantonment, where I lived, that is a major hospital for our personnel and their family. I am disappointed to say the least. So it is not true.”

The general refused to launch an investigation into what he said he “know[s] is not true,” adding, “I don’t think I should waste my energy on such things,” JoyOnline reports.

But a spokesperson for presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar said Thursday that he will investigate the allegations if he wins the election next year and stop any forced abortions that may be occurring, according to Reuters.

One woman, Fati, who is in her mid-20s, told investigative journalists about how happy she felt when the military first rescued her from her Islamic kidnappers. Then, her supposed rescuers killed her unborn baby.

Here’s more from the report:

About a week later, Fati said, she lay on a mat in a narrow, dim room at a military barracks in Maiduguri, the state capital. It was rank, with cockroaches skittering across the floor. Uniformed men came in and out, giving her and five other women mysterious injections and pills.

After about four hours, said Fati, who was about four months pregnant, she felt searing pain in her stomach and black blood seeped out of her. …

She recalled the injections, then understood: The soldiers had aborted their pregnancies without asking – or even telling – them.

Fati said the soldiers threatened to beat them if they told anyone.

The motivation appears to be discriminatory. Several military members and medical workers told the news outlet that they believed the abortions were for the women’s own good, and their superiors wanted to destroy future Islamic extremists before they were born.

“It’s just like sanitizing the society,” one told Reuters.

The news outlet estimated at least 10,000 unborn babies were aborted under military orders since 2013 but acknowledged that “the count could be significantly higher.”

Forced abortions are a massive but often under-reported abuse all across the world. The Chinese communist government also has been accused of forcing pregnant mothers to abort their unborn babies for decades under its population control policies.

Even in the United States and Europe, forced and coerced abortions often occur. A 2022 BBC survey found 15 percent of women of childbearing age in the United Kingdom felt pressured to have abortions that they did not want.

Another new study from Lifeway Research found that 42 percent of men whose partners had abortions said they either “strongly urged” or “suggested” that she have an abortion. In 2009, research by the Elliot Institute found 64 percent of post-abortive women said they felt pressured to have an abortion, often from a spouse or partner.

Additionally, a 2014 study found that forced abortions are common among sex trafficking victims. In “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” researchers found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with more than half saying they were forced to abort one or more unborn babies.