Letters to the Editor

Legal puzzles concerning pregnant women

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Dear Editor,

In my first book, A Matter of Principle (second edition, 2003), I raised some of these issues, but they bear repetition now amidst the abortion dialogue.

In light of the nuanced arguments for a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy, should that right become law in Jamaica, then, in my unlearned view, legal reform would be necessary concerning certain national laws and human rights conventions that provide special protection for pregnant women.

Why such protection if a pregnant woman has within her womb simply a 'bundle of cells'?

Why does Article 6 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit the execution of the death penalty on a pregnant woman if she is not, in fact, carrying in her womb another human person?

The abortion rights campaign also has legal implications for child abuse legislation and conventions. If you can legally kill a child a few months before birth, why the legal fuss about roughing up a child, seriously even, without killing her, shortly or some time after birth while the child is still a minor?

I am just asking!

There is yet another dimension, though not a legal one. As the late evangelical philosopher Francis Schaeffer pointed out, the practice of abortion on demand reveals a certain brand of medical schizophrenia within the health-care fraternity.

Imagine the scene in a hospital. A team of specialists struggles to save the life of a premature baby with birth defects that are incompatible with normal life.

In the same hospital, other doctors destroy perfectly normal infants in the womb. It is a bit crazy, in my view.

Let's remember that life does begin for the child in the womb, not at birth. At birth, the child does not 'come into being', but simply switches 'location of being'.

These issues deserve at least a hearing, even if, in the long run, they are not heeded.

Rev Clinton Chisholm

Academic Dean

Caribbean Graduate School of Theology


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