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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Abortion is not the solution for Boko Haram’s rape victims: Pro-life spokesmen worldwide

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The Nigerian army has pushed back Boko Haram from a number of hideouts in the past few months, rescuing hundreds of women and girls kidnapped by the Islamic jihadists. Many of these girls, however, have been repeatedly raped and intentionally impregnated by the Islamists.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been accused of promoting abortion for the pregnant victims. The UNFPA has issued official denials, because abortion is illegal in Nigeria. But Western pro-abortion groups are advocating abortion as the solution for the victims of rape, and the U.S. is pressuring Nigeria to change its laws against abortion.

Other groups have said that abortion is never a solution, and only furthers the violence and injustice inflicted upon women. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, meeting last week, spoke strongly and unanimously against the push for aborting the babies of raped Boko Haram victims.

"The suggestion that killing the babies conceived through rape by the terrorists is the most inhuman action to take in this instance. It is not tenable," they said.

The Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. James Olusola Odedeji, spoke against the UNFPA's pressure to abort, noting that the church condemns abortion for any reason. He has called for prayer for Nigeria's leaders considering what to do, that they might "lead us in godliness."

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews, "Adding the violence of abortion to the violence of terrorism and rape is unconscionable. These young women have been through enough, and their babies do not deserve a death sentence because of the criminal actions of their biological fathers."

Rev. Boquet stood against the United Nations' abortion pressure tactics. "The thought of high pressure groups like UNFPA swooping into Nigeria to finish what the terrorists started is very troubling. The entire international community should vigorously reject this false solution and further violence, and should help Nigeria to find life affirming solutions for these women and their children."

Whether UNFPA is promoting abortion in this instance or not, Christian voices from around the world agree on one thing: abortion is not the answer.

Miranda Devine of Austrailia's The Daily Telegraph opined, "These young Christian women are being traumatized all over again by a Western feminist establishment which wants them to abort their unborn children."

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The Journal of Social and Political Psychology noted, amid the Rwandan genocide 21 years ago, that for many rape survivors, their child was the only thing that made life worth living.

"Motherhood played a positive role for many women, often providing a reason to live again after the genocide," Odeth Kantengwa of the Research and Documentation Center on Genocide in Kigali, concluded in his study, "How Motherhood Triumphs Over Trauma Among Mothers with Children from Genocidal Rape in Rwanda."

The Project for Human Development (PHD) Director-General Jerry Okwuosa told AllAfrica.com that making these women pass through the trauma of abortion after what they had passed through in the hands of their rapists was "criminal." "Abortion does not un-rape a woman, but only revisits violence with more violence; killing the baby and maiming the mother," he said.

"No matter how a child is conceived, the right to life has been given to him or her at conception by God and nobody has the right to take it," he said.

"Pregnancy is not a disease, nor is it treated or cured by killing a child," Okwuosa explained. "God has a purpose for every child."

A staff member at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital added the fact that it would be dangerous to perform abortions on many of the women and girls. "You cannot terminate advanced pregnancies because in some instances, you will end up killing both baby and mother," he said.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) issued a statement against the UNFPA's pressuring these emotionally vulnerable, malnourished women into abortion. "It is extremely worrying that some of these women may undergo abortions, which could cause them further physical and emotional trauma in their already weakened state."

"The deaths of their unborn babies would add to the toll of lives lost in this tragic situation," SPUC spokesperson Antonia Tully said.

The news source AllAfrica.com published an editorial about the Boko Haram rape victims, saying it was "unfortunate" that Nigerian law forbids abortion for these "certainly unwanted pregnancies." Then, in a surprise turn, the media outlet considered the babies in-the-womb, and asked, "The innocent babies they are now carrying: what offense have they committed?"

"We think government must take good care of these girls so that they can carry their pregnancies to full term," All Africa concluded. "Thereafter the girls and their parents should be consulted and counseled on the possibility of giving the children out for adoption."

Editors at All Africa concluded, "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."

The Nigerian Minister of Defense, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, is considering how to offer the best care for both the women and their unborn babies. "My major concern is how we will manage women that might be affected," Gasau said.

Gasau referred to the children as being innocent in the tragedy, and said the government must "document these kids without getting them stigmatized, monitor and work towards raising these kids to become educated future leaders without the slightest ideologies of their fathers in order for us to cut the cycle."

"We must show love to these innocent children; we should support the innocent mothers. This is equally in our enlightened self-interest," Gasau stated.

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