ABORTION-CHRISTIANS VS MEDICAL SCIENCE
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
Abortion is a devastating reality and is trending among women in society.
The latest official figures by the Department of Health reveal a worrying trend- far more girls below the age of 18 are having legal abortions than women over 18. Figures also show that by the end of January this year a total of
155 624 abortions had been performed in state hospitals and clinics since the law legalising abortion came into effect in February 1997.
As alarming as they are, these figures relate only to abortions done at state hospitals and clinics, and exclude those done at private facilities like the Marie Stopes clinics, a major provider of abortions, and other private clinics.
The debate about women using abortion as a contraceptive has caused outrage between Christians and Medical Science.
Christians argue that it is murder and Science believes it is part of family planning.
An article published on Christianet about abortion being an immoral act states, “Six weeks after conception, the baby’s heart starts beating. It is a real child that sits inside a woman’s body. The moment it is conceived, it is a child.Immediately the soon-to-be mother starts to think of the life inside of them as an actual life. When women decide to terminate a pregnancy, they are disturbed for a long time due to knowing they are killing a child.”
However, the medical side begs to differ from the views of Christianet.
Marie Stopes being the countries biggest private abortion clinic, they had a different medical view on abortion.
Mari Stopes clinic nurse Xoliswa Sobekhulu said, ” Abortion is commonly done by women with unplanned pregnancy. Termination is not part of contraceptives but it is one of the medical ways to deal with unwanted pregnancies.”
She added that, “Women who come in to the clinic for an abortion are seen by a counsillor one-on-one before paying for their abortion. This mandatory counsilling session included making sure the abortion was her decision and that no one was coercing her, explaining the abortion procedure and aftercare.”
Statistics show that abortion spread after it was made legal and illegal abortion plans continue to spread in society.
Sobekhulu said the number of patients at their clinic has tripled since 2000. They perform a number of abortions every month, to women aged 12 and 35.
Research by Health System Trust show that the abortion figure could exceed 200 000 before the end of the year. Girls under 18 accounted for a figure of 80 873 abortions, more than half the total of 16 385 since abortion was
legalised. The latest figures have once again divided those favouring abortion and those opposed to it.
1996’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act marked the passing of one of the most progressive abortion laws in the world, entitling South African women of whatever age to a free abortion at a public facility.
However, women put their lives at risk by going to “backdoor” abortion clinics because of long waiting lists for termination in public hospitals and clinics.
Zandile Mwandla a former Public Relations student at Berea College, said had she not terminated her pregnancy, she would not have graduated.
“Termination is wrong on so many levels , both culturally and in christianity but it was the only solution at that time because a baby would have been a setback in my life,” said Mwandla. Mwandla is currently a PR officer intern at Mzimkhulu Municipality .
Reverend Nxumalo from Mount Zion church said, “To have an abortion is to take lives into our own hands. This does not honour the Lord in anyway as he created children to serve a purpose in life.”
In his book, A Godword Life John Piper says “Christians around the world should be moved to action by abortion. Hell is an even more devastating reality, and what an utter inconsistency it would be to feel indignant about the holocaust of abortion, but not about the holocaust of sinners perishing in unbelief.
In his article on abortion,Ghana writer Obourba Asante Taado wrote, “There comes a time in the history of a nation when we have to pause and examine ourselves to see whether we are moving forward or not. Besides poverty, hunger, conflicts escalating into wars, diseases including Hiv/Aids which threaten our existence on the African continent, there is this immoral and irresponsible behaviour that threatens the moral fabric of our society”.
He goes on to say that abortion is as crucial as any other topic that affects a nation. It needs to be debated and dealt with to save the moral fabric of society.