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NASS urged to incorporate unborn babies in VAPP Bill

10 March 2015, 08:59Emmanuel Yashim

Lagos - The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH), a civil society group, on Monday urged the National Assembly to include unborn babies in the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill.

The Public Relations Officer of the group, Ms Ijeoma Uzoma, made the call in an interview in Lagos.

Uzoma said that the bill did not take into consideration any form of protection for unborn babies.

"The bill is actually to protect persons, especially the vulnerable group.

"Paragraph 43 explained the vulnerable group - women, children, persons living under extreme poverty, persons with disability, the sick, the elderly, ethnic or religious minority groups, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, migrants.

"So, it is going to be of benefit to the nation, but as good as it sounds, it is a bit biased and it did not include all persons.

"There is a group, the most vulnerable of all the vulnerable groups that we have forgotten and these are the unborn persons, because we have to recognise that they are also persons.

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"Then the individual substance of their own being even though they are yet to be rational, because they are still dependent on the mother, but that doesn't mean they are not individuals on their own."

Uzoma said that this would protect the unborn persons against medical abortion

"The bill does not define who a person is; a person is a human being and it includes each and every member of the specie (Homo Sapiens) at all stages of life, beginning with the earliest stage of development created by the process of fertilisation, even cloning or its functional equivalence because those fertilised eggs developed through IVF are also human beings and they also need to be protected.

"All I am trying to say is that these unborn persons should be included so that they will also be protected at all stages of life because if they are not included it means the bill is giving room for the unborn persons to be subjected to violence and we know that is abortion.

"That means the bill will give room for medical abortion. So, the unborn persons must be protected by this bill. If they are not protected, that means it is simply saying medical abortion is legal."

Senator Dahiru Umar, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Human Rights and Judiciary, had assured stakeholders that "the bill will be passed before the expiration of the 7th assembly."

The bill seeks to prohibit all forms of violence - physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices and discrimination - against persons.

While the bill seeks to provide maximum protection for the person, it aims to apportion appropriate punishments to perpetrators of violence.


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