The abortion debate in Jamaica is as old as time but there has barely been any positive action to provide women with access to safe, legal and affordable services to terminate pregnancies. Instead, we pussyfoot with our obligations and responsibilities. We pretend abortion services aren’t needed and shouldn’t be allowed and carry on as if a handful of liberal minded Jamaicans are trying to take the country down a path of destruction.
Denise Buchanan was only 17 years old when she was raped by a seminarian who continued to abuse her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica. He used to visit her university residence at least once a week for sex. When she got pregnant, not very long after the abuse began, he arranged a clandestine abortion. She became pregnant a second time at age 21, and following a second clandestine abortion, she has … Continued
On 8 June 2018, we reported that on 5 June Member of Parliament Julia Cuthbert-Flynn had tabled a motion in the Jamaican parliament calling for a debate on the law that criminalises abortion. In fact, she also tabled a private member’s bill the next day calling for the sections criminalising abortion in the Offences against the Person Act to be removed and replaced with civil law. On 6 June Nationwide Radio JM reported that … Continued
by G Matthews, N Benfield, J Atrio Contraception October 2018;98(4):341-42 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2018.07.040 In an anonymous online cross-sectional survey among medical students at the University of West Indies, among 1,404 medical students (42.5% female, 54.7% very religious), 64% had a positive attitude toward abortion. Attitudes were favourably affected by a personal or family experience with abortion, identification as non-religious, and being of older age and mixed race. Some 78.8% reported no abortion training and … Continued
On 5 June, Julia Cuthbert-Flynn tabled a motion in the Jamaican parliament calling for a debate on the law that criminalises abortion. The NGO Advocates for the Partnership for the Promotion of Patients’ Rights in Maternal, Neonatal, and Infant Health (MNIH) welcomed the motion, which calls for the repeal of a law that threatens women with life imprisonment, with or without hard labour. The group noted that a conversation on “unsafe abortion and human rights” … Continued
A group of experts in human rights in patient care attending the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange on 10 April, in anticipation of the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights on 11 April, urged legislators to repeal sections of the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act which prevent Jamaican women from legally terminating pregnancies. “Unsafe abortion accounts for the third leading cause of maternal death. And why this is important is that maternal deaths and … Continued
A Sunday Gleaner article reported that between January and September of this year, of the 1,088 pregnant women who presented to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital with bleeding in early pregnancy, 91 admitted to having attempted to have an abortion and an additional 47 had complications that suggested that they had attempted abortions. Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton ordered a medical audit across the public health system to determine the extent of the problem of … Continued
Abortion is illegal in Jamaica except to save a woman’s life or preserve her physical or mental health under a law dating back to 1864. Public opposition has made discussion of changing the law difficult. But the Jamaican National Family Planning Board said it was reviewing its position on abortion after appointment of new board members in May.