HomeoldNearly-aborted, Ghanaian teenager wins Junior Olympic gold medal

Nearly-aborted, Ghanaian teenager wins Junior Olympic gold medal

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Editor’s note. This inspiring story appeared in the November post-election issue of National Right to Life News. You can read the entire 34-page edition at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsNov2014.pdf

I follow sports very closely, youth sports almost as closely, but I confess I missed that the first-ever Olympic gold medal won at any level by a Ghanaian was by 17-year-old Martha Bissah.

Competing last August in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, Bissah ran a 2:04.90 in the 800 meter final, a new junior Olympic record.

According to a Ghanaian newspaper

An enchanted TV Commentator at the Youth Olympics commented about Martha’s achievement saying, “Martha Bissah the Ghanaian has given us a glimpse of a glorious future…without any shadow of the doubt… that was world class….if someone can tidy up that technique, she will be a force to be reckoned with when she becomes a senior.”

But there is (to quote the immortal Paul Harvey), a “rest of the story”—that she almost didn’t have a future. The details come courtesy of a story written for Ghanaweb.com by Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie.

The headline gives us the startling truth—“Martha Bissah: A nearly aborted foetus now a world champion.”

Remember that this story is being told from the perspective of the writer who describes his nation as a “third world country” where the chance to go abroad, and possibly take up residence there, is a powerful inducement for anyone.

In this instance, Bissah’s teenage mother was an athlete and a good soccer player in her own right. She had a chance to go abroad (the story is a little vague here) when she checked into the hospital feeling poorly. She was pregnant!

Dadzie writes

The duration of the pregnancy made it somewhat safer for an abortion, as was suggested to her to enable her make that life-changing journey overseas. In a continent, where the desire to travel abroad for greener pastures compels many to embark on perilous voyages at sea with no assurance of a decent life, risking a month old foetus whose future was uncertain, would have been easier in exchange for a genuine expedition abroad to nurture a talent.

Besides, coming from a country whose heroes are rarely honoured, it would have been an opportunity to make a name for herself abroad and perhaps naturalize if she so wished, weighing the benefits of that option. But for reasons that one may not easily comprehend, the selfless teenage mother who was coincidentally 17 years at the time, abandoned her dreams and made what some would call a stupid or weird decision, by insisting she will keep the baby. She thus forfeited that rare opportunity.

Now call it a miracle or destiny, and you will not be wrong; because that foetus, which was not aborted in exchange for stardom and perhaps money in women’s’ football or athletics at age 17 abroad, has supernaturally turned out to become a world champion in athletics inexplicably also at age 17. Martha’s age is now [half] the age of her mother who is 34 years old. Martha was discovered by her coach right from basic school through to SHS.

You can interpret it whichever way you wish, but the bottom line remains that this is undoubtedly a moving story that carries a lesson for all, most especially for those who will easily opt for abortions in similar or isolated circumstances.

The story is, of course, built around the truth that Martha could easily have been just another abortion statistic. But it is equally about what the writer feels is a government that does not support athletics the way it should.

Its relevance to us is that Martha is not counting on assistance from the Ghanaian government, according to Dadzie. Appearing on ETV’s Revealed programme, hosted by Eddy Micah, she discussed some of the hardships.

However, Dadzie continued,

Despite the challenges and limitations, Martha says she was able to achieve that feat with determination and with the help of God and will never give up even if Government doesn’t offer the needed assistance.

Martha, who reads her Bible and sings at church when she is off the tracks, retorted ‘’If not God, who else’’, when the Host asked whether she believed that God played a role in her success.

Dadzie ends his story of the young woman who could have been aborted with this powerful conclusion:

The smallish-looking athlete, bubbling with hope and determination, with an amazing voice, thrilled the host Eddy Micah with a local gospel song after she revealed that she was a singer at church. Martha’s choice of song in the Akan dialect titled ‘’Empare me se mesan mekyi’’, which literally means ‘’I will never give up’’, clearly sums up the story of how she has been lifted from grass to grace and the fact that she will never give up on her dreams…”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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