Governor retaliates against doctor who uncovered secret law legalizing abortion in Nigeria
IMO, Nigeria, September 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The governor of the Nigerian state of Imo – who was forced to apologize to Christians and ask lawmakers to repeal a law he secretly signed which legalizes abortion-on-demand after massive outcry by the state’s predominantly Catholic population – has taken his revenge against the doctor who first made the deception public.
The Lagos Vanguard reported Friday that Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration has assumed complete control of Dr. Philip Njemanze’s state-of-the-art new hospital currently under construction in Owerri.
Dr. Njemanze, chairman of Nigeria’s Catholic Medical Practitioners Association, had been coordinating the project, but told the Vanguard, “Since I broke the news on the abortion law foisted on Imo people by the state government, the Director of Lands was ordered to revoke the land for the construction of new mega hospital complex.”
Dr. Njemanze earned the administration’s ire by publicizing a law passed in secret in May 2012, which allows abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological, or emotional health of the mother.
The controversial law also states that “every woman…shall have the right to determine the processes concerning reproduction in her body.”
When a similar law was debated in 2010, Christians from all over Imo state stormed the House in protest on the day of the hearing, and state legislators ultimately dropped it. But the 2012 version was passed and signed in secret, with no public knowledge or debate.
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It only became public knowledge after Dr. Njemanze of the Catholic Medical Practitioners Association found out about it and brought it to the attention of state media.
Dr. Njemanze called the law “anti-God, dehumanizing, and totally unacceptable.”
“The law is devastating,” Dr. Njemanze told the Nigerian Daily Post. “With its signing into law by Governor Okorocha, abortion has been legalized in the state and anybody, just anybody can now ask for abortion as a right in the state.”
Revelation of the law’s passage has resulted in widespread anger in the deeply Catholic region.
In response to Christian outcry over the law, Governor Okorocha called the House for an emergency session Tuesday and asked them to repeal the sections of the law dealing with abortion. He claimed he had misinterpreted the bill’s language and asked Christian leaders to forgive him.
But on Thursday, the Vanguard confirmed that the state had confiscated the land on which Dr. Njemanze’s hospital sits, apparently in retaliation for exposing their secret.
The hospital, which has been under construction since before Governor Okorocha took office, was a joint effort between Dr. Njemanze and doctors in the United States and Britain. It was to be paid for by a combination of private and federal funds, with advance financing provided by Fidelity Securities.
It is unclear what will become of the project now that the state government has taken control.