Thursday, 22 September 2016

Exploding the myth of equating a woman's worth to her fertility

I just read an article on a Ghanaian online newspaper I read quite frequently. A woman had gone with her boyfriend to a pharmacy to purchase abortion pills. After she took one of the five she had been given, she had to go to the hospital because of the severe pain she suffered. While recuperating she left her hospital bed and went to a radio station to talk about her ordeal. The interesting part of this whole thing for me were the comments. She was castigated for making the choice to have an abortion, even the president came in for his share of insults.

I thought it an opportunity to share my thoughts on abortions with respect to Ghanaian women.
Basically abortion is legal in Ghana. A quick perusal through the Criminal Offences Act 1960 confirms this. However the general notion is that abortion in Ghana is illegal. This however doesn't detract from the fact that I am of the opinion that abortion is wrong except for reasons of incest, rape, health concerns and so on. I believe most women would agree with me on that. Contraceptives are widely accessible. Thanks to organisations like Marie Stopes International which have made such drugs very affordable. 
The problem is perception. 
I conducted a mini survey. I found that most women are aware of contraceptives. They are aware they're widely available and nearly free. 
They also believe they would become infertile if they take them. A woman with five children will still be unwilling to take contraceptives because she fears infertility. Therein lies the problem. As women we have been socialized to believe that our worth is directly related to our fertility or fecundity. 
May I suggest that this is an erroneous notion to have?
I believe that in recent times that notion has been disproved over and over. Look around you and see the women achieving so much. Some of them have children but some don't. Yet society is ever ready to point out to them that they still haven't achieved anything because they don't have children.
I believe that the way forward is to disabuse our minds as women that our worth equates to our fertility.
Contraceptives have been proven to work without changing our fertility. Maybe it's time our government and civil society organisations take the time to make more information available to change that perception. I believe the occurrence of abortions would also decline.
In fact in conclusion let me ask o. How do you feed your children if you haven't achieved anything for yourself first? How do you inspire them to achieve greater success?