Letters to the Editor

Leave abortion alone, Dr Campbell

Friday, June 06, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

It was interesting to read Dr Dayton Campbell's article in the Sunday Observer (June 1), entitled 'Abortion: Let's get rid of those ancient laws'. Dr Campbell confidently states "Jamaicans support abortion"; however, upon further reading his article I realise that this was quite misleading.

Dr Campbell makes reference to a 2006 study which found that "60 per cent of respondents support the legalisation of termination of pregnancy under special conditions such as incest, endangerment of the woman's physical or mental health and/or life". This qualified support cannot be used to make the sweeping statement that Jamaicans support abortion. The best which could be drawn from the study is that 60 per cent of Jamaicans support abortion under specific circumstances.

I am interested to ascertain which competent authority would determine the "mental health" of pregnant mothers. I suggest that this category, mental health, would result in widespread abuse. Does Dr Campbell realise that there are some doctors who routinely provide "sick days" for patients who are not sick? What will prevent some doctors from falsely claiming "mental health" issues for pregnant mothers?

Dr Campbell speaks eloquently of the rights of the mothers, but does an unborn child have any rights? I wish Dr Campbell had taken the time to inform us of what actually happens to the unborn child during an abortion. Based on my reading, an abortion involves the tearing apart of limbs and crushing of the head of the child. Does the unborn child feel pain during an abortion? Dr Maureen Condic, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah, posits the view that, by the eighth week, a foetus can, in fact, feel pain. She states that "the neural circurity responsible for the most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex, is in place by eight weeks of development." Should we be concerned that the unborn child feels pain?

Invariably, the push for abortion rights is cloaked in the issue of rape. No one denies that rape is a horrendous crime and the perpetrators should be put away from society for a very long time. However, let us not use a "horrific crime" to justify legalising abortion in Jamaica. I refer Dr Dayton to Valrie Gatto, Ms Pennsylvania 2014, a self-described "product of rape". She believes her life has a purpose and wants to "inspire people, to encourage them, to give them hope that everything is possible, and you can't let your circumstances define your life."

Dr Campbell speaks about the effects of illegal abortions and the harm they do to the mother. I am sure he would have heard about Dr Kermit Gosnell, who did many legal abortions which harmed many mothers in the USA; some even died. I also refer him to our Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who has repeatedly said the best form of family planning is a job for young women. I would prefer that our young MPs tell us how best they see us tackling youth unemployment and enhancing the education our young people receive. I am sure Dr Campbell is genuine in his push for reproductive rights, but I firmly believe that the majority of Jamaican women are happy that they decided to have their children despite these trying times.

Marsha Thomas






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