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Sex, Single Mothers And Abortion 

By Mishael Jini W.

In the good, old days, getting pregnant before one was legally married was considered as taboo. Society frowned at this and the average young man hesitated to take as wife, someone who had been fidgeted with. Consequently, if a pregnancy "slipped in", something had to be done to prevent the end result becoming common knowledge.

An abortion was surreptitiously carried out and the girl continued to wait, in hope, for that man who would father her "legal" babies. Some of these abortions were crudely done, and even after the girl finally got a man for her "legal" children, she somehow remained childless ever after.

Today, common knowledge has it that the female population of Cameroon has far outnumbered the male one. As a consequence, a girl, it is commonly thought, considers herself lucky to be identified by a young man and eventually taken in as a lifetime partner.

Young girls, openly serving as mistresses to married men are all over the place. And if you thought that all of them do so purely for pecuniary reasons, then, you better think twice, for, a good number we talked to said they simply were out for emotional security. One girl actually said that she prefers married men because, as she put it, they are responsible and can get a serious relationship going, as opposed to the young adventurous fun seekers who just hop from one girl or from one bed to the other.

Perhaps as a logical consequence to the teeming female population, girls nowadays have resolved that they would have their babies before they run into menopause. This way, they make as many babies as they wish and with whom they choose. In the yesteryears, pregnant school girls were often practically demonised, humiliated and sent packing from school. The case was worse if it was a mission school. In many situations, getting pregnant while in school meant that studies had ended for you. Permanently. An abortion, secretly executed, was a girl’s best chance of continuing with her education.

In these modern times however, a pregnant girl is free to have her baby, any number of babies and return to school. This means that it is no longer terribly abnormal for a student to be in the family way. Perhaps this partly explains why mothers, especially, would rather their girls bring forth the child instead of having it aborted.

Single parenthood is in vogue in today’s world. Many are those kids whose welfare is handled throughout their growing up stages by one parent. In majority of the cases, it is the woman bringing up the child or children single-handedly… with no male support. This may also explain why many mothers are wont to discourage their daughters from carrying out abortions.

Sometimes mums or grand mums elect to baby-sit for their working class daughters, especially if such a one was toying with the idea of aborting. In fact, many women, some relatively young, are so eager to see and behold their grandchildren that they prod their daughters on, to have kids, married or not. And so, the talk of abortion is not only strange but equally offensive to their ears.But what of the unemployed, desperate girl who, having been put in the family way is dumped by the "putter"? What of the jilted girl that is disappointed by the man she trusted and wished to be the father of her child or children?

The temptation to terminate such a pregnancy is usually very high. The anger generated by what drab treatment the girl has received and the bleak future staring her in the face has often determined that an abortion be effected. But then, many yet, are the girls who would go through hell to ensure life and eventual livelihood for their unborn children. 

Youths nowadays, have a rather large appetite for sex, to the extent that they sometimes overlook the consequences. This is not to say that they engage in reckless sexual activity. On the contrary, the use of contraceptives and other safe practices are more at the disposal of today’s teenagers than has ever been the case. As it stands, a pregnant teenager is regarded as one who did not play her cards according to the rules. That is, have sex just for the fun of it or for the pecuniary returns it may be fetching for you, the girl.

Poverty might have rendered certain men incapable of taking up their responsibilities but it has equally failed to render them impotent. These men therefore, shut their eyes to the availability of contraceptives and the abundance of STIs, and then go on impregnating girls whom they soon abandon.

The spiritually, legally and financially insolvent girls then resort to aborting the "mistake" whom they cannot afford to nurture. A student in a school in the Molyko neighbourhood in Buea, revealed her naivety in accepting a pregnancy in the hope that the boy would marry her. But upon rejection, she found herself left alone in the middle of the deep sea. Even her parents were rejecting her. Knowing the cost of prenatal care, abortion was the easy way out for her. She thought too of her education and reluctantly aborted.

Other girls are just vicious enough to think of maintaining their "guitar" shapes. To them, abortion is a means of getting rid of that "mere clot of blood", which stands as an obstacle to future sexual and other selfish gains. After all, "if I do not victimise it, it will victimise me".

(UB Journalism Student on Internship)

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