Fri | Feb 26, 2021

Church has no business in a legal issue

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2021 | 7:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I find it quite audacious that we should consult the church, or the church should have any legal standing relating to an individual’s body. For centuries we have been seeking this form of guidance as some principle and honestly, it is quite disconcerting. We are entering an era where we do not want “soda and rusty nails” as a solution to abort pregnancies.

Bishop Alvin Bailey’s position in The Gleaner news story published on January 12, demanding Andrew Holness to publicly condemn calls on abortion, is quite outrageous and abysmal.

Every individual should be able to exercise the right over their own choices as this is fundamentally their human right. Preventing individuals from accessing an abortion does not mean they would stop needing one, however, attempts to ban or restrict abortions do nothing to reduce the number of abortions; it only forces people to seek out unsafe abortions, which is more riskier and can lead to far greater complications for women and individuals of trans-experience. While I understand the church’s position on abortion, there is, however, a separation of power between the state and church and basic fundamental human rights should not be taken from individuals who have a right to make their own decisions.

The traditional position that abortion perpetuates crime and violence is overused and is certainly exhaustive. It’s best the attention is placed on other pertinent issues like solutions to circumvent the alarming murder rates and measures to support online school facilitation, especially as we navigate COVID-19. The church should be proactive there!

I most certainly support Juliet Cuthbert Flynn’s position that the issue of abortion should be tabled in Parliament following Argentina’s recent landmark ruling to legalise abortions up to 14 weeks. It’s time we move away from these retrograde conversations and enact laws to support safer and healthy abortions. Whether it is a referendum or a change of outdated laws around abortion once this is done, I fully support and welcome this move to greater social inclusion of pregnancy rights for all people in Jamaica.

Barbados, Cuba, and Guyana have already implemented these strategies to provide access to safe and healthy abortions; Jamaica should also do the same.

DELION BOWES

Equality Youth Jamaica