Abortion — responsibility and respect

Al Miller

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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We're always going to argue about abortion. It's a hard choice and it's controversial. — Hillary Clinton

We are living in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Some changes are positive and some negative. These changes, regardless, bring with them challenges and many new issues. They also raise questions which demand answers.

Previous generations did not have these issues and questions as challenges because they had common fundamental principles and beliefs that made decision-making easier. In our time, these issues have arisen because there is no clear understanding of purpose, no commitment to a proven time-tested set of standards, no known and defined source of final authority, and often no strong leadership with moral conviction. In addition, there is no clear vision, will and strength of character guiding the various processes.

The result on such societies will be indecision, confusion, imposition of alien detrimental concepts, disorder, enslavement of various types, and ultimately social and economic decline. No society can long survive in a healthy progressive and prosperous environment without stability in its moral standards, beliefs and economic base.

One of the issues which have become a hot debate in our nation in recent months is the issue of abortion. It has become more than just a controversial topic, ever since the Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn reintroduced it to Jamaica's legislature for re-examination.

For those in opposition to abortion this means that the issue is now more than just a hot preaching topic or interesting after-church discussion.

Laws may be re-examined and changed. Perhaps, then, it is time for all of us to be willing to take a thorough and balanced look at this issue — no matter what side of the fence you're on, or how evolved you think you may be.

Abortion and sexual responsibility

The abortion debate, to be correctly analysed, must be placed in context to embrace the broader issue that gives rise to it. We cannot divorce it from sexual behaviour. Mankind, above other created things on Earth, has freedom of choice; self-control; and a mind to think, reason, plan and organise. He/she, therefore, has the responsibility to think and consider consequences before acting.

The same act of sex is used both for procreation and recreation. Those who use it must do so responsibly. Sex, like drinking, should be done responsibly, as there may be consequences.

I am sure the experts will agree that most abortions in Jamaica are not the result of rape or any type of non-consensual activity. So, let us be honest and truthful, abortions are symbiotically linked to irresponsible consensual sexual behaviour. The majority of those seeking abortion, and for whom this re-examination of law is really being sought, are persons who by choice engage in irresponsible recreational sex and out of fear and perceived inconvenience are seeking a final and fatal birth control method. Therefore, no real discussion on abortion should take place without connecting it to sexual responsibility — or rather, sexual irresponsibility.

In all facets of life, responsibility is an important and expected component. Irresponsibility is never condoned. Yet, in the abortion debate, I hear neither side speaking to this aspect of the issue. But no real and balanced discussion on abortion should avoid this issue of irresponsibility, no matter your position on the issue of abortion. In fact, if you are pro-abortion, you should particularly be concerned about this. Your pro-abortion position may harm the very people you think you're helping. For we all know that the consequences of irresponsible sexual behaviour negatively impacts our society in myriad ways. But, whether anti-abortion or pro-abortion, we must all speak with one voice against irresponsible sexual behaviour. In so doing we may find the need for abortion and its attendant ills decreasing; something we all should want.

Respect and reverence for life

Good governance has to be about preserving life and facilitating the best quality of life. Government cannot, therefore, sanction mass murder. People may make their individual choices and wrestle with its consequences, psychologically, emotionally and, at times physically, but it should never be with State approval.

We hear the statements “Black Lives Matter” and “all lives matter”, we say babies lives matter. This is not merely a religious or even just a moral issue; it is the fundamental principle of preserving life or destroying life. Anything else is a violation of our basic existence.

How can a society, on one hand, be calling for respect for life and to teach our children the value of life, while on the other approve the wanton, at will, destruction of babies.

Then there is current outcry against the killing of children, which numbers over 40 for the year at the time of writing. Yet we are contemplating legislation that could possibly kill 22,000 per year. These are mixed messages being sent.

Mother and/vs baby

Abortionists want safe abortions to protect the health of the mother, anti-abortionists want no abortions to protect the life of the child; both needs will be met the fewer abortions we have.

The life contemplated for abortion is not the mother's life or body, it is a life being carried in her body, for which she has custodial responsibility to protect and deliver on behalf of herself and another. Yes, I hear the arguments that it is her right to make the call for the life in her to live or die because it is her body, but here's a question for consideration: Does she have a right over the body of another?

The truth is, if we really hold dear the value of respect and reverence for life then there must be a genuine concern for all life, especially the life of that other tiny body within a mother's body that has no voice yet to speak for itself.

In a rational society this genuine concern should be felt by all of us, even the mother considering the abortion and the doctor with the ability to fulfil her wishes. The respect and reverence for life should prohibit them from taking the expedient action of abortion. It's our values that are our culture and which shape our thinking and should influence our actions.


Here's another missing component in the abortion debate: Weh di man deh?!

Interestingly, no mention is made anywhere in abortion arguments, for or against, of the father's right to his seed. This would seem to suggest that he has no right or say in the matter, or he is either irrelevant or irresponsible and does not factor in the equation.

It is amazing that the only voice we hear is for the right of a woman because it is her body. She surely did not have sex with herself, did she? So what of the right of the man?

For some, this argument may be interpreted as male chauvinism. But let's have an honest discussion. If we are willing to displace and disregard a man when abortion is in view, what moral authority do we have to tell him to be responsible and take his place beside her when she decides to carry the life to birth?

This idea that a man has no place in the abortion debate, and it's solely the woman's prerogative, is a feminist view supported by irresponsible men driven by self-serving motives.

Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society validates my opinion on this matter. He posits: “The drive to legalise abortion — make abortion a woman's right — is a part of the international liberal agenda which is advocated by radical feminists and their supporters. [It comes with huge funding made available to advance it, similarly to that made available to LGBT backers. This is what makes it almost irresistible for many in government of our developing nations not to commit to promoting the cause. Sadly, even to the detriment of their own societies.]

“These particular feminists believe that a woman is not free unless she is able to abort a pregnancy at any stage without restriction. They are so committed to this concept they believe that medical personnel must be placed under obligation [threatened with imprisonment or fine] to at least refer women to persons who do abortions.”

This abortion issue is complex, but surely not beyond us to find the wisdom to resolve and not simply follow enforced external international agendas for 'filthy lucre'.

I do understand the various positions, and especially sympathise with the plight of a mother caught in the dilemma of an unexpected or unwanted child; the emotional, psychological and economic pressures, and even inconvenience it can cause, but can these factors be the only or primary considerations in decision-making? This is certainly not how God designed it to be. For any woman, no matter her age, that must be a heavy burden emotionally, especially if she doesn't have the family and church support systems that she should have to help her through that grievous season. But are personal preferences, ease and convenience to be more important than principles?

When the welfare of lives and the well-being of a society and its effects on future generations are at stake great care must be taken to ensure we make principle-based decisions for the least negative impact on all. We will hold all Members of Parliament — Government and Opposition — responsible for the decisions made on this matter.

This conversation is incomplete. Part 2 is on the way.

Rev Al Miller is pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle. Send comments to the Observer or

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