Nigeria: Catholic Bishops Oppose Abortion for Girls Impregnated By Boko Haram

Nigeria: Catholic Bishops Oppose Abortion for Girls Impregnated By Boko Haram

THIS DAY, Abuja — The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) monday opposed the calls by some groups calling on girls impregnated by Boko Haram insurgents to abort the unborn babies.

The bishops’ call came amid intense pressure being mounted by groups calling for the termination of the pregnancies. In a statement made available to THISDAY, Health Committee of the bishops’ conference frowned at the move to browbeat the girls into abortion.

The chairman of the committee and Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja, Bishop Anselm Uworen, said: “The attention of the Health Committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has been drawn to the current flurry of debates over the most appropriate line of action to manage and rehabilitate some of the rescued women from the Boko Haram terrorists who are pregnant.

“In fact, some misguided actions are being canvassed by a cross section of persons and groups to the effect that mass abortions should be performed for the women!”

He explained that “from the outset, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria would like to express deep sorrow at the traumatising experiences endured by many Nigerian men, women and children under the orgy of violence and terror meted on our citizens by Boko Haram. “The body of bishops – as shepherds – has borne both direct and collateral pains with all Nigerians and especially our brethren who have been killed, maimed, displaced and harassed by the fundamentalist sect.

Uworen went on to state: “We cannot be persuaded by the shallow arguments being promoted by some individuals and groups which obviously mean repaying violence with even a more vicious violence. “Specifically, it is not tenable the suggestion that killing the babies conceived through rape by the terrorist is the most humane action to take in this instance. Since the babies areignorant and innocent of the crimes (aggression, sexual assault, dehumanization) against their mothers, it is unethical to punish them for the sins and offences of their erring fathers.

“How can we accept to visit with capital punishment (death sentence by abortion) on young Nigerians simply because their fathers were misguided religious and ideological bigots?” he asked.

The bishops observed that “the women who are victims of the criminal actions by the Boko Haramists, we extend special concern and empathy. We appeal to them to keep faith in God Almighty who has given them the uncommon strength to face the trials and travails. “In addition, we urge them to take solace and draw encouragement from the comfort that God has a purpose in their motherhood role for the innocent babies they now carry in their wombs. The life of each baby is distinct, different and unique from that of the parents. In fact, the baby depends on the love and care of the mother.

“Therefore, in solidarity, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria on behalf of the babies urge the mothers to show maternal love for the Nigerian children they now bear.

“The trauma of sexual assault and rape is enormous, and the Catholic Church in Nigeria in cooperation with all people of goodwill is ever prepared to provide every measure of support to accelerate the healing, rehabilitation and resettlement of the victims so that they can swiftly be reintegrated into the society.
“The abducted women and girls rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists who are pregnant are being provided supportive care by agencies of the federal government of Nigeria, civil society entities and faith-based organisations (including the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and our diocesan structures in the affected states).”

These efforts need to be coordinated and made more robust.” On the way forward, the bishops maintained that “one of the support mechanisms to be established will be crisis pregnancy management centres to help Nigerians who may stand in need of similar help anywhere in the country.

“The children rescued from terror and abortion would be presented for adoption to the many generous Nigerians willing to accept abandoned, rejected or motherless/fatherless babies into their families.”

The Catholic Church also tasked Nigerians to keep up the prayerful efforts for the speedy restoration of peace in our country.

Categories: Church & Ministries

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