JAMAICA – Youth parliamentarians tackle abortion, violence and climate change

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.

Youth Parliamentarian Tedra Morris argued that “every woman should have the right to secure a safe abortion from qualified professionals at the best facilities, using properly sterilised instruments. Women should have the moral right to determine what should be done with their body,” she said, noting that it is the poorer women in society who were suffering the most.

Calls were also made for the Government to allow young victims of rape and incest to have an abortion without criminal sanction. If the State chooses not to go this route, they said, that it should partner with the church to accept children who were conceived in these unfortunate situations.

They suggested the Government could look at the Barbados model, which allows abortions based on the risk to the woman’s life, rape, incest, her mental and physical state, and whether the child would suffer any physical or mental abnormality.

SOURCE: Jamaica Observer, 14 November 2019  ; PHOTO: JIS