US offers assurance despite abortion ruling
Official says overturn of Roe V Wade won't impact reproductive health aid to Jamaica
Assistant secretary for global affairs at the US Department for Health and Human Services Loyce Pace gesticulates while speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

THE United States' decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion will have no impact on its commitment to supporting sexual and reproductive health in Jamaica and, by extension, the region.

This is according to assistant secretary for global affairs at the US Department for Health and Human Services Loyce Pace.

Pace, in an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday at the US Embassy in St Andrew, said the impact of Roe v Wade in the US is something they feel deeply and recognise the signal that it potentially sends to the rest of the world.

But, Pace said, one thing she wants to be clear about is the USA's commitment to sexual and reproductive health worldwide, including in the US.

"Rest assured, we remain committed to this issue no matter what's happening domestically, and perhaps even because of what's happening domestically. We will continue to speak up and stand up in international forums, in our relationships with other countries to learn from you, even some of the challenges you might be facing, and/or the ways you're trying to advance these important issues and rights for women in other diversities," Pace said.

Besides, Pace said, other issues like maternal and child health and non-communicable diseases are really important to the US and represent a fundamental pillar for public health and addressing those needs.

"I can imagine Jamaica is also paying attention to non-communicable diseases and that's not something we talk about a lot in the international public health space, and the more it affects individuals including mental health issues and the more we have to turn our eyers and ears towards these issues. What's really fundamental is that we have a health system that can support the range of health priorities that are being identified," she said.

"As we are making strides or inroads to improve physical health services, we have to remember the mental health component to all of that. Be much more inclusive when it comes to how we're viewing health widely and ensure we're not forgetting about that important aspect of health or health care, whether it's in how we pay for services, provide services, or really focus on the patient or person seeking those services," she added.

Kimberley Hibbert

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