House committee recommends conscience vote on abortion
BY BALFORD HENRY, Senior staff reporter
Saturday, March 28, 2020
THE House of Representatives' Human Resources and Social Development Select Committee has recommended that Members of Parliament make a “conscience” vote to determine whether or not abortion should be legalised in Jamaica.
The recommendation was obviously the likeliest response from the 11-member committee, chaired by Opposition MP and Roman Catholic Deacon Ronald Thwaites, after listening to the divisive views of more than 70 local and overseas institutions, individuals and emotional experts for a little over two years.
Editorial | Whither abortion reform?
Monday | March 23, 2020
IT IS not clear whether Parliament’s Human Resources and Social Development Committee, which hasn’t had a sitting in recent months, has concluded its hearings on reforming the abortion law and, if it has, what it has recommended to legislators. Its chairman, Ronald Thwaites, will shed light on the matter, as well as informing the public how the committee intends to proceed.
Perchance they are not yet done deliberating, it is this newspaper’s hope that the committee will be inspired by last week’s developments on the matter in New Zealand, which finds its way in their report, and embraced by Jamaica’s legislators.
JAMAICA – Youth parliamentarians tackle abortion, violence and climate change
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Nov 19, 2019
At a sitting of the 10th National Youth Parliament, the young people representing youth groups from across the island, engaged in spirited debate on abortion, youth participation in the political process, youth violence, and climate change, making a number of recommendations for the Government to consider.
On the issue of abortion, the suggestion was made to have Jamaicans vote in the next general election on whether abortion should be allowed conditionally or unconditionally. They called for the matter to be given urgent attention in light of growing concerns about botched abortions, which are the third leading cause of maternal death in the country.
MPs told to consider 'saving laws clause' related to buggery, abortion
Created : 2 October 2019
Members of Parliament (MPs) have been asked to consider whether they will vote to retain or amend legislation that criminalises buggery and abortion, two usually divisive issues.
Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck told MPs on Tuesday to consider the matters as he opened the debate on the report of the Joint Select Committee that was appointed to review the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Child Care and Protection Act.
Abortion: whose decision?
Yvonne McCalla Sobers
Published: Sunday August 11, 2019
Some church persons are using biblical teachings in an attempt to coerce the State into continuing to treat a woman as a criminal if she chooses to have an abortion. Scare tactics, backed up by horrific footage, have been used to equate abortion with murder.
These advocates have every right to influence the moral choices of their church members in particular, and the society in general. However, laws in a secular state need to apply equally to non-believers and believers (such as Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Revivalists, and Rastafarians).
The cost of unsafe abortions
Jun 21, 2019
The Minority Report, Stabroek News
A few weeks ago, I participated in a Safe Abortions Advocacy session held by the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association. Led by Sherlina Nageer, I found the session particularly informative on the various ways unsafe abortions are promoted due to dangerous cultural attitudes, economic circumstances and limited to no access to services and information.
Abortion has been legal in Guyana since 1995 with the passing of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The Act permits abortion for any reason during the first eight weeks of pregnancy once done by a licensed medical practitioner.
JAMAICA – Decriminalising abortion in Jamaica: Christians say ‘Yes’
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
April 26, 2019
by Joan French and Statement of Committed Christians
In mid-2018, following the death of a constituent from a botched abortion, Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn made her protest against the existing laws regarding abortion public via the media. She presented a Motion to the Parliament proposing the decriminalisation of abortion and its replacement by a civil law setting out the conditions under which women would be able to access legal and safe termination of pregnancies. Under Jamaican Statutory law a woman can be sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to terminate a pregnancy, and accomplices or facilitators up to three years. While it is arguable that the Common Law accepts abortion ‘if the life of the mother is in danger’, some doctors have been challenged by the State when they have performed abortions according to their interpretation of that provision.
The result of this situation is that women who choose abortion often have them performed in unsafe conditions, risking their lives. The World Health Organization estimates that 22,000 abortions are performed in Jamaica each year. (WHO, Unsafe Abortions 2004). Many of those who survive suffer serious complications such as severe infections, gangrene in the uterus, haemorrhaging, tearing of the cervix, uterine perforation, laceration of the vaginal wall. The situation disproportionately affects women who are poor and young, since those who have money can find qualified doctors who will perform their abortions for a considerable fee.
Dr. Gabrielle Jamela Hosein
Diary of a Mothering Worker
Apr 24, 2019
THERE ARE women in every neighbourhood in TT who have terminated a pregnancy at least once. From here, our support to current efforts to decriminalise abortion in Jamaica should be clear.
In TT, women can risk jail and pay for a private medical procedure. If they cannot pay, or because poverty, age, lack of information and partner violence prevented them from being supported enough in this life decision, they could end up in hospital with various harms caused from unsafe options, as more than 2,000 women do here every year.
30+ Caribbean women’s groups call for decriminalisation of abortion
Friday March 29, 2019
The undersigned social justice and women’s organisations and individual advocates note the Jamaican parliamentary consultations under way on the law on abortion.
We encourage Jamaica to follow the example of other countries within CARICOM, which have led the way with legislation that decriminalises the termination of pregnancy – Barbados (1983) and Guyana (1995). As well, Belize, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines have expanded the exceptions that allow for abortion under the criminal law.
Carolyn Cooper | Women dying for abortion rights
Published: Sunday | March 10, 2019
The facts are bloodcurdling. The Partnership for Women’s Health and Well-being has issued a grave reminder that we simply cannot ignore.
“The practice of unsafe abortions and the consequences of abortions performed by untrained, non-specialist physicians can result in a number of complications for women, including: severe infections, gangrene in the uterus, hemorrhaging, tearing of the cervix, uterine perforation, laceration of the vaginal wall and untimely death.”