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ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Abortion is a reaction

Friday, October 19, 2018

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Dear Editor,

"An ounce of prevention is better than cure," is a Friday evening Radio Programme that aims at getting to the source and not the symptoms of ill-health.

The host, Dr Tony Vendryes, graciously navigates callers with various types of sickness to address the source of their illness.

I want to apply this approach to one of the debates presently being discussed in our society, namely, the recurring abortion issue.

In both local newspapers, the Member of Parliament for West Rural St Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, is carrying the torch to enlighten her Parliamentary colleagues to change the present legislation of the Offences Against the Persons Act in order to decriminalise abortion.

It's commendable that the Honourable MP expresses empathy with the 20-year-old female “constituent” who lost her life due to a botched abortion from some "back street operator." But is abortion really the cure? What about the preventative measures enlightened educators and social workers have been talking about all these years?

Clearly there seems to be “no balm in Gilead" nor in Jamaica with the ABC forward thinking approach promulgated years ago in our western societies to tackle HIV/AIDS scourge and unwanted pregnancy -- Abstinence; Be faithful; and Condom usage.

Is it that our people are not critical thinkers to realise that there are consequences to our actions? “An ounce of prevention is better than cure!”

From my pastoral experiences as a clergyman both in Jamaica and in the Eastern Caribbean my ministry has revealed to me that the “abortion cure” is not that curative when the whole person (body, mind and soul/spirit) is taken into consideration.

One case in particular has left an indelible impression from as early as the mid 1970s. A woman, happily married with three children, was nonetheless severely traumatised with the absence of the fourth set of feet, the child she had aborted prior to her marriage. This trauma was as real as the trauma felt by those who were sexually assaulted or raped; the memory still lingers. Is that what we want for our women in Jamaica?

The non-critical advocacy for abortion is not the way to go, as if to say of the process:

“Ah nuh nutten. Now I can go on with my life to achieve my dreams.”

The proposed cure is a very costly one that is more than meets the eye; it contributes to the already intolerable culture of violence and the culture of death anchored in sheer individualism. The Creator/God issue is yet to be factored into the equation, an issue that ought to be brought into play because of the God-conscious people that we claim to be.

As a people we need to look more seriously and methodically at the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. For instance, sorely needed character-building (self-worth based on values and attitudes) should begin in the homes and continued in our schools (especially Church-owned schools).

It must also be preached from our pulpits that before we were even formed in our mother's womb, God “knew” us into existence (cf. Jer.1:5). As one columnist stated not too long ago in reference to our moral behaviour to situations that are challenging, “My response is my responsibility” People of sound character make responses. People of non-critical thinking major in reactions; abortion is a reaction.

Donald J Reece

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