The Abortion Issue: ‘Conscience’ should be unencumbered or unconditional

Abortion vs conscience

(a segway of sorts to abortion but a similar principle in terms of conscience is a problem here with the pending legislation (the abortion bill) with almost a theocratic dosage down our throats)

(Letter to the Gleaner 27.08.09)
Your Letter of the Day, August 6, titled ‘Termination of Pregnancy Bill not punishment’, penned by The Working Group For Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights (WG), is deserving of comments.

Before commenting on the bill, may I express a few concerns on the depth of the abortion debate.

It would seem that a rational debate on abortion would not be complete without considering the impact of the practice of contraception on pregnancy and ultimately the birth of babies. And, the practice of contraception is not restricted to the usage of condoms and tablets. The range of devices is much wider, including from tubal ligation to abstinence.

To exclude the practice of contraception is to begin the debate at the advanced stage of the foetus, thereby concealing some of the fundamental arguments of abortion or other ways by which the desire of not having a baby is achieved. When placed under clinical microscopic examination, the sperm cells trapped inside a condom resemble swimming tadpoles (life-filled and searching for the egg of the female for the purposes of procreation).

One study has shown that one ejaculation of sperm contains over 1,300 sperm cells with the potential of creating as many foetus/babies. Imagine then the potential of a single sex act that produces 15 ejaculations (1,300 x 15 = 19,500 foetuses/babies). Further imagine the chance of survival of such a pregnancy! The carrier would likely burst asunder.

The study has further shown the largest number of babies born from a single pregnancy to be 17. None was larger than a thumb and all died shortly after birth due to their underdevelopment. On the other hand, single births produce developed, healthy and surviving babies more times than not.

The Proposed Legislation

When the sex act is looked at holistically, it drives us to the logical conclusion that to have developed, healthy and surviving babies, the potential of the sex act is drastically diminished internally. It discloses further, that abortion is not restricted to the insertion of medical instrument into the body and the removal of the foetus. The practice of contraception, which we have sugar-coated, commercialised, promoted and marketed as ‘family planning’, also has had the effect of interrupting or aborting the procreation process. Likewise, the intervention of nature (the drastic internal destruction of sperm cells to allow for the development, birth and survival of healthy babies) strongly suggests that abortion is a prerequisite for our survival.

“The proposed bill,” says the WG, “acknowledges that the patient is at the centre of the debate and, therefore, the midwife or practitioner is obliged to refer the patient to another doctor who may provide the service.”

Like Donovan Cole’s ‘Condoning terrible acts’, page B8, The Sunday Gleaner, August 9, 2009, it is awkward and inconsistent to provide for ‘freedom of conscience’ not to perform abortions while imposing responsibility for providing referrals and information to other doctors from whom the service may be obtained.

‘Conscience’ should be unencumbered or unconditional. It should not be coaxed or trapped in a compromising position. Moreso, there seems to be no compelling reason to consider or treat one’s legal right to abortion as a case of emergency, barring incidents of rape and life-threatening circumstances. It should be convenient and sufficient for the Ministry of Health to provide the public with information on the availability of the service and where it can be obtained. Places like post offices, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other medicare facilities, including private ones which wish to volunteer, should be sufficient outlets for the dissemination of referrals and information.

The proposed legislation should be reviewed with the view to absolving the pro-lifers from having anything to do with the commission of an abortion, including providing referrals and information as to where the service may be obtained.

I am, etc.,
Lionel Russell

Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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