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Imo: Bishops March Against Abortion Bill - Religion - Nairaland

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Imo: Bishops March Against Abortion Bill by AloyEmeka9: 11:56pm On Jun 02, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Bishops march against abortion bill

EMMA OGU, Owerri

Catholic priests and faithful in Imo State yesterday demonstrated in Owerri in protest against a bill in the state house of assembly which will legalize abortion. Public hearing on the bill entitled, "A Bill for Law to Provide for Certain Reproductive Rights of the Women and Other Related matters", which took place yesterday met strong opposition from some groups including human rights bodies.


The bill was sponsored by Hon John Egbuchulam from Mbaitoli constituency and co-sponsored by 12 other legislators.

Led by Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Diocese, Bishop Augustine Ukwuoma of Orlu Diocese and Bishop Solomon Amatu of Okigwe Diocese, the clerics and Rev. sisters and other faithful from Assumpta Cathederal in Owerri and stormed the assembly complex with placards.

Some of the placards read: "Abortion is abomination," "Speaker should protect Imo family," "legislators should give hope to the unborn, they have right to live". They had converged at the Cathedral premises as early as 7 am.

Panic gripped some of the lawmakers as they sighted the huge crowd that filled the assembly complex. Four of them, including the Deputy Speaker Hon Jonas Okeke, Dr. Obioma Ekennia, Mbadiwe Emelumba and Henry Igbomezie pleaded with Bishop Obinna to dismiss the crowd assuring that the Speaker would grant the bishops audience.

Scores of members of Catholic Women Organization who had already found themselves upstairs were quietly led down by Hon Okeke to the entrance of the assembly where they burst in anti-abortion songs.

They were later addressed by the Bishop who assured them that God has heard their cries and will heed their request. The cleric thereafter, directed that the procession should head back to the Cathedral. He later held a meeting with the Speaker before the commencement of the public hearing of the bill.

Speaking to journalists before dispersing the protesters, the Archbishop said he went into research and discovered that the bill in question is a bill for the legalization of abortion and promotion of free sex among women. According to him, one of the offensive clauses in the bill said that a woman should have paramount or supreme authority with regard to the control of her fertility.

"This also means control of her body and sexuality. Since it means separation of the woman from her husband and from the family values it is an attempt to give a total autonomy to girls and to women to do what they like with their bodies and it is contrary to both the African tradition as well as contrary to the will of God. Nobody can be so autonomous that nobody else can advise him or her.

"We have a divine commandment and we have family laws. No man or no woman that is responsible will just tell the daughter to start having free sex and free abortion. So both as a citizen, an African and a man of God I feel that this law if it is passed will only be destructive of families of whether men or women.

"I heard that a group IPAS is behind this bill. I don’t even know what IPAS is all about but in my research I discovered it is part of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Movement that promotes excessive freedom of women so that women can feel to free do what they like with their sexuality. No human society that is responsible can tolerate that," the cleric said.

He said the position of the Catholic church is that women should be given their dignity and their dignity includes responsible use of sexuality within the context of marriage that is properly blessed by God and approved by the society and the family, stressing that the church is against promiscuity and abortion.

In his submission addressed to the Speaker of the House, Dr. Philip Njemanze, chairman of African Anti-Abortion Coalition lamented that pro-abortion groups like IPPF, IPAS, Society for Family Health, UNICEF, USAID have shifted their fight against the Nigerian unborn child to the Imo State House of Assembly after their crushing defeat at the National Assembly.

He said the bill should be declared null and void and of no effect because section 6 of the bill empowers state government to authorize abortions in violation of the fundamental human right to Life statue of Chapter 1V, section 33 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 even as the state assembly with the bill has undertaken legislation on issues that border on fundamental human right which is on the Exclusive Legislative list of the National Assembly in the Second Schedule, part one of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

Meanwhile pro-abortion women group who also arrived the assembly complex in uniform were of the view that passage of the bill will end deaths arising from pregnancy and child birth.

Speaker of the House, Hon Goodluck Opia in a statement issued through his Chief Press Secretary Kelechi Mejuobi said contrary to the belief of many especially the uninformed minds, the state lawmakers who are Christians of different religious denominations do not only respect church doctrines but are also sensitive to issues related to Christians and their faith.

He explained that members of the assembly as representatives of their constituents must take into consideration the feelings of their people before passing into bills into law and adoption of motions and resolutions.

He said there are procedures in passage of a bill into law and due process is always employed by the House, adding that the bill to protect the Right of Women has passed through first and second readings before it was committed to the committee stage.

He further pointed out that because of the nature of the bill, three committees of not less that 21 members were mandated to invite and reach out to the public for their contributions and necessary inputs before the bill is further discussed at the plenary session.

Also speaking to Daily Champion after the public hearing Chairman of the House committee on Health Dr. Obioma Ekennia said the House got exactly what it wants because the essence of the public hearing was to carry everybody along in the deliberation. He said from submissions of the public at the sitting it does appear that a lot of people have something against the bill.

"Because of the nature of the bill the House invited all to make input. This is what democracy is all about. So I am satisfied with the response of our people. Their inputs will help us to know what happens next after the various committees involved have collated and analyzed all the inputs."
Re: Imo: Bishops March Against Abortion Bill by archangel1(m): 5:40pm On Jun 11, 2009
the church can never compromise on  the abortion issue.abortion is intrinsically evil. i thank the catholic bishops and other catholic faithfuls in in imo state for their response. the church is the custodian of ethics. 'cut out from me you can do nothing''.the secular  world should respect the church in the area of morality because she is always infallible in this persepective.

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