Youth add voice to abortion debate

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Sunday, May 26, 2019

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THE subject of abortion is a taboo topic, no matter the age, race or denomination. However, at last Wednesday's premiere of Unplanned, a number of youth in the audience were not afraid to add their voices to the debate.

The occasion was held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston.

“We helped to conceptualise the event and so we were pretty much part of it from the outset,” Dr Daniel Thomas, president of the Love March Movement, told the Jamaica Observer.

According to the 27-year-old medical doctor, the Love March Movement is a youth Christian organisation for sexual purity and family.

He said since the inception of the movement in 2012, they have been making strides nationally.

“On our leadership team, we have about 10 young people. Our average age is about 25 but on Facebook we have over 2,000 followers, so we represent a huge chunk of our nation and particularly the youth perspective on a number of issues. This abortion fight is really important to us, because abortion affects us so much; It is youths that get aborted and youth are, many times, the ones that get aborted so we decided that we wanted to speak up on this issue. We presented in Parliament on April 10, where we spoke to the committee, presenting our pro-life position and so we just wanted to let Jamaica know that we are here standing up for the pro-life people,” he said.

Abortion was made illegal in Jamaica under sections 72 and 73 of the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act. Women and their doctors can be charged with felonious assault for procuring or facilitating an abortion, and they can be imprisoned for life if they are found guilty. However, statistics show that 10 per cent of pregnancies in Jamaica are aborted.

A 13-year-old female, who requested anonymity, said the movie cemented her pro-life stance.

“I thought it was very touching. There were scenes that were very cringey. It was really traumatic..the blood and the whole process of the abortion. I know that abortion affects the mother in an awful way, and it can prevent her from having children in the future. It can make her feel guilty, so yeah I'm pro-life,” she said.

The premiere, which was filled to capacity, followed the true-life story of Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas.

In 2011, Johnson and author Cindy Lambert wrote a book of the same title. Johnson's story chronicles her transition to Planned Parenthood and her departure eight years later. The R-rated drama shows why an abortion industry insider reversed her stance on this controversial topic.

It stars Ashley Bratcher, Emma Ella Roberts, Robia Scott, and Brooks Ryan.

Produced by independent company Soli Deo Gloria, Unplanned was released in the United States on March 29. It has made US$18 million at the box office.

In addition to members of the clergy including Father Richard Ho Lung, head of the Missionaries of the Poor and Rev Al Miller, head of Faith Tabernacle, also in attendance were Dr Alveda King, niece of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr; and Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign; and producer of Unplanned, Michael Manhardt.

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