Abortion a decision between person and medic; no place for theologian

Letters to the Editor

Abortion a decision between person and medic; no place for theologian

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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Dear Editor,

The issue of abortion enters the public arena as frequently as waves crash onto shore. Verbal battles between pro-choice and pro-life groups have shown that one of these two main groups has remained largely unevolved in its advocacy.

This letter is a response to the Jamaica Observer's January 25, 2021 cover article entitled 'Abortion Rebellion', in which Rev Dr Peter Garth expressed his disrespect towards a person's right to make decisions about her body and future.

This letter's aim is not to argue morality, because everyone has the right to a personal moral compass. Nor is it to convince people who see abortionists as criminals that the debate is not black and white. I'll simply state the facts that Rev Garth has ignored:

1) Abortions have been happening for centuries and will continue to happen centuries from today. The law only prevents them from happening safely. By opposing decriminalisation Rev Garth is green-lighting the continuation of unsafe and unregulated abortions.

2) One out of every three abortions done between 2015 and 2019 was carried out in unsafe or dangerous conditions. Without decriminalisation the Medical Council of Jamaica is unable to formally intervene and ensure that all abortions are done safely.

3) Unsafe abortions are a direct threat to public health and maternal mortality, and disproportionately affect low-income individuals. Rev Garth disregards that people have abortions for a vast number of reasons and people with low incomes are the ones who suffer under our law.

4) Complications from illegal abortions are the eighth leading cause of maternal death in Jamaica. The question is: Does Rev Garth feel comfortable knowing that people who could've received legal and safe abortion care risk their own life?

Rev Garth himself acknowledges that “3,000 years from now, abortions on demand will still be wrong”. Well, Rev, 3,000 years from now abortions will still occur. This means that whether one believes the act is good or bad, the need will persist. Therefore, we must ensure the procedure is done safely, accessible, and entirely up to the person getting the abortion, upon the advice of a medical practitioner, and not the religious opinion of a theologian unaffected by people's personal life.

The landmark ruling of legalising abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy in Argentina, an extremely Catholic country, shows that the Church's opinion on abortion is not black and white, and the quality health care of those who will have abortions must be legally protected. It is the hope of many that the same victory can take place in Jamaica. But, until then, we will continue to be the small axe, consistently chipping away at the big tree.

The Church should look at the facts presented and not be led by beliefs that ignore our realities here in Jamaica.

Ashley Dalley

abortionjamaica.com


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