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'Abortion never heals a pregnant woman's trauma or crisis'

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 11, 2019

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THE youth-led Christian organisation, Love March Movement (LMM), yesterday called on Parliament to consider alternatives to abortion, such as reviewing the legislative framework for the adoption process to make it easier for children to be matched with families.

Addressing the Human Resource and Social Development Committee at Gordon House yesterday, teen suicide attempt survivor and vice-president of LMM Francesca Tavares said information gathered from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency by the organisation revealed that as at January this year there were 100 people waiting to be matched with a child.

“That should not be the case. We want to encourage this committee to recommend real solutions; it's counter-productive to want to encourage a society that respects human life when we don't respect the most vulnerable amongst us. Jamaica's youths deserve better than abortion. Abortion is a cheap, careless mask for deep- rooted pervasive complex problems that are undermining our society, such as rape, fatherlessness and a lack of respect for human life. Abortion never heals a pregnant woman's trauma or crisis,” she stated.

Tavares also urged the Government to allocate more funding to pregnancy resource centres, and initiatives that provide assistance to offset the cost of having a child.

The LMM in its submission, continued its push-back against the motion now before the House committee to decriminalise abortion, arguing that fathers are being left out of the conversation.

Tavares said some fathers are deeply hurt by abortion, which is seen as solely women's issue. “The discussion on abortion has excluded the father altogether; this same country says that fathers you need to become more involved in your child's life, but these same fathers are excluded from the discussion. Abortion is not a woman's issue, it's a human issue,” Tavares stated.

She pointed out that abortions impact entire families, including subsequent children, and fathers.

Member of Parliament for St Catherine East Central Alando Terrelonge questioned whether the LMM was in possession of data indicating the number of fathers traumatised by abortions, but second vice -president of the group, Alison Facey said it was difficult to gather this type of data.

“It would be difficult to capture some of those data because the conversation is most times minimised to just a woman's issue,” she noted. She urged the committee to conduct a thorough examination of this particular issue, and stated that her organisation would be willing to collaborate with the research.

LMM President Dr Daniel Thomas cited international research on abortion and the effects on teenage girls, which indicated that teenagers that are six times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had abortion in the last six months, than teenagers who have not had an abortion. Teens who abort, said Dr Thomas, are more likely to develop psychological problems, and that 40 per cent of teen abortions occur without parental involvement.

Dr Thomas said the research also found that teens are more likely to have riskier late-term abortions, which are associated with more severe psychological complications. “This just goes to show the disproportionate negative effects on young people,” he noted, pointing to medical risks such as cervical lacerations, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, hysterectomy, and ectopic pregnancies.

He said there are also effects on the wider family unit as the research showed that subsequent children are negatively affected, having less supportive home environments, and more behavioural problems than the children of women without a history of abortions.

The committee is reviewing a private member's motion tabled by St Andrew West Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, calling for Parliament to consider the recommendations of the 2007 Abortion Policy Group.


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