Cuthbert Flynn urges Parliament to legalise abortion

Friday, October 12, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

GOVERNMENT Member of Parliament for West Rural St Andrew Juliet Cuthbert Flynn wants the Administration to repeal legislation that makes abortion illegal.

Cuthbert Flynn, a former Olympic-level athlete, wants the House of Representatives to take steps to repeal sections 72 and 73 of the Offences Against the Persons Act, which makes abortion illegal and substitute it with a civil law, “The Termination of Pregnancy Act”, as was recommended by the Abortion Policy Review Group in 2007.

“The Parliament has a duty to take a stand. I have a duty to take a stand, not on either side of the debate, but a stand about protecting the lives of women, particularly poor women, regardless of public opinion about the value of their lives,” she told the House, as she opened the debate on her motion on Tuesday.

Cuthbert Flynn noted that in 2018, she lost a constituent, whom she described as “a young woman in her late 20s”, who died from complications from a botched abortion.

“She was vibrant, full of life and very smart, and I am saddened by what happened. Her death was avoidable and it haunts me to this day,” the MP said.

“I felt I have a personal responsibility, as a lawmaker, to do something,” she stated.

She said that the illegality of abortion has not in any way prevented women from procuring it from qualified or unqualified medical professionals, or attempting to do it on their own.

“We know of cases, we hear about these cases, from time to time, and it is not just persons from a certain background who are getting abortions done,” she told the House.

She said that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 22,000 Jamaicans, aged 16-44, terminate their pregnancies every year.

“Sadly some get sick and die from complications due to mismanaged procedures,” she stated, noting that death from botched abortions was the eight leading cause of maternal deaths in Jamaica, and is primarily affecting adolescents who die from abortion complications.

“This concerns me as a member of this honourable House. The current law frustrates many Jamaican women, especially poor women who are desperately in need of termination.

“It is time for the Parliament to no longer sit on the sideline while the debate rages around the issue of pro-life and pro-choice,” she said.

The debate is expected to resume when the House meets again next Tuesday.

— Balford Henry

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon