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WROC calls for national discussion on abortions

Thursday, November 09, 2017

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THE Women's Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) has thrown its weight behind the call for a national discussion on abortions in Jamaica.

WROC says its move comes in the wake of news of a number of women turning up to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital seeking emergency treatment while either admitting they had attempted abortions or displaying symptoms to suggest that they had.

“We support a call for a wider, national discussion on the issue of maternal health as well as the rights of women and their unborn children,” Nikeisha Sewell Lewis, executive director for WROC, is quoted as saying in a release from the centre.

Sewell Lewis is insisting that “we need to stop relegating the issue of abortion to the back room”.

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has since ordered an abortion audit to include “assessing current family planning methods, including public education, counselling, contraception, fostering, and adoption”.

At the same time, actors working on gender issues in Jamaica have questioned whether existing legislation, which makes abortion illegal, is putting women's lives at risk, the release said.

Unsafe abortions are among the common causes of maternal deaths on the island, WROC said.

Meanwhile, the next few months should provide stakeholders with opportunities to discuss patients' rights and responsibilities, courtesy of the project dubbed “Partnership for the Promotion of Patients' Rights in Maternal, Neonatal and Infant Health in Jamaica”, the release said.

The goals of the project are to strengthen patients' rights and improve the role and effectiveness of civil society in advocacy for maternal, neonatal and infant health.

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