Boko Haram: The Rescued Girls’ Pregnancies | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Boko Haram: The Rescued Girls’ Pregnancies

Posted: Jun 1, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Following the recent incursion by Nigeria’s military into the dreaded Sambisa forest stronghold of the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, over two hundred girls reportedly rescued were found to be pregnant. This is believed to be the result of serial rapes committed by members of the sect in their hideouts. This revelation obviously raises both moral and spiritual issues. Given the circumstances under which these girls were impregnated by their abductors, the question, which arises, is should these pregnancies be terminated or not?

The sect members who impregnated these young girls did so under duress. There is definitely no way these girls and their parents would be happy having and seeing those children around. This certainly is an unwanted pregnancy. Besides there is this thinking by a school of thought that the fruits of such serial rapes may grow up becoming another source of pain to the society, considering the circumstances that threw them up. This prevailing feeling may seem to validate the need for these young girls’ pregnancies to be terminated.

Unfortunately the Nigerian law forbids abortion. Section 228 of the Criminal Code provides that “Any Person who with intent to procure miscarriage of a woman whether she is or is not with child unlawfully administers her to take any poison, or other noxious thing or uses any force of any kind or uses any other means whatever is guilty of felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven   years.”

Even at that, abortion is against the will of God. Both Christianity and Islam forbid it. Only last week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, kicked against suggestions in some quarters that the pregnancies be terminated. For them, “it is not tenable, the suggestion that killing the babies conceived through rape by the terrorists is the most inhuman action to take in this instance”.

It is important to note that when pregnancies are over three months old, as in the reported cases of some of these abducted girls, the challenges of aborting them are definitely there. So, there is certainly a danger in conceiving abortion for these young girls. Do we then want them to pay the price? Or should we allow the Bishops have their say and the young mothers carrying the pregnancies have their way? This indeed is a difficult proposition.

This Newspaper wishes to express deep concern for the trauma these young girls and their parents are presently undergoing as a result of circumstances that were not of their making. These girls were kidnapped and forced against their will to succumb to sexual intercourse with the dreaded Boko Haram sect members. So, for the innocent babies they are now carrying, what offence have they committed?

We think government must take good care of these girls so that they can carry their pregnancies to full term. Thereafter the girls and their parents should be consulted and counselled on the possibility of giving the children out for adoption.  The rationale for this is that, considering the circumstances that led to the pregnancies, the young mothers and indeed the society may unconsciously develop hatred for these children, which may impact negatively on their behaviour. No doubt, these young girls are now in a delicate situation and need the support of Nigerians and indeed the government to go through the trauma arising from the pregnancy.