Activists Capitalize on Boko Haram Sexual Violence to Push Abortion

Women who escaped Boko Haram (AFP PHOTO/STR)

As the Nigerian army rescues more and more women from captivity from the Islamic jihadist group Boko Haram, abortion-rights groups have swooped in, seeking to instrumentalize the crisis to advance their agenda of abortion and population control.

Since abortion is illegal in most of Nigeria, except to save the pregnant woman’s life, abortion rights advocates view the present crisis as a perfect opportunity to push Nigeria to change those laws, using the violated women as an excuse.

Serra Sippel, for instance, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, suggests that the U.S. government and NGOs could “put pressure on the Nigerian government to bring its laws into accord with the Maputo Protocol and offer resources for rape survivors to obtain a full range of reproductive health care services,” including abortion.

The Maputo Protocol is an African Union treaty instrument that calls for the legalization of abortion for any woman at any point in pregnancy, even in the ninth month.

Writing for Cosmopolitan, abortion-rights advocate Jill Filipovic laments the lack of “public pressure by high-profile NGOs or governments to push the Nigerian government to allow abortion services for rape survivors.”

The Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported that of the women and girls rescued by the Nigerian Army, as many as 214 are pregnant.

Though Nigeria has already lost 13,000 innocent civilian lives to the violence of Boko Haram, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other abortion advocates see an opportunity to reduce the population still further by aborting the children now being carried by victims of Islamist sexual violence.

Although Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with women there facing a 1 in 13 chance of dying while pregnant or in childbirth, abortion activists would rather eliminate maternity than work to make it safer.

Answering violence with violence seems second nature to groups like UNFPA, which also has given millions of dollars to support China’s population control policies. Fortunately, there are others who see this tragic irony for what it is.

The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, the Rev. James Olusola Odedeji, has condemned calls for abortion to be carried out on the pregnant girls recently released from Boko Haram captivity.

The Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Badejo also denounced the Obama administration for failing to come to the aid of Nigeria because of its refusal to change its laws, including its stance on abortion.

“The United States actually said it would help Nigeria with Boko Haram only if we modify our laws concerning homosexuality, family planning, and birth control,” he said.

The UNFPA lost funding under President George W. Bush, but funding was restored under President Barack Obama.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a pro-life association with an outreach to Africa, said it was disturbed by the presence of the United Nations Population Fund claiming to offer “counseling” to the freed women who are pregnant.

“UNFPA,” SPUC said in a statement, “is one of the leading international groups promoting abortion in the developing world. It is sending huge numbers of reproductive health kits to displacement camps in Nigeria where women rescued from Boko Haram have been taken.”

The group said it fears “that these emotionally vulnerable, malnourished women will be pressured into aborting their babies.”

In a bizarre twist, some abortion activists have complained that if women are not helped to abort their children, they may do harm to them later.

Ratidzai Ndhlovu, a UNFPA representative, said that she heard a report of “at least one young girl who gave birth to the baby of her Boko Haram rapist and wanted nothing to do with the child; counselors, fearing she may harm the baby or herself, removed the child from her care and placed it in an orphanage.”

As heartwrenching as this story is, to advocate immediate lethal harm as a remedy for avoiding possible future harm seems to defy logic.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.