Over the weekend, a local group, The Coalition of Lawyers for the Defence of the Unborn, called the suggested decriminilization measures 'revolting', and took particular exception to a recommendation in the proposed law prescribing sanctions against medical personnel who refused to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of 'conscience'.
And more recently, the Jamaica Gleaner reported on a pro-life pastor who compared a provision in the draft bill to Adolf Hitler's plan to exterminate Germans with physical or mental disabilities, a comparison which might perhaps be valid if said Germans had been living inside various women at the time. The pastor of course went on to quote the Christian bible in an attempt to show that "God's plan for human lives started from conception."
According to the clergyman, God said to Jeremiah: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee ... and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." He said this indicated that God had a specific plan for the prophet's life even before he was born. He argued that no doctor, psychologist or theologian could determine God's plan for a human life. In that regard, he said abortion should remain unlawful, except in the most extreme cases such as proven threat to the life of the mother.Although, I'm not sure how we would know that God's plan for that foetus isn't way more important than whatever the mother was doing at the time. I mean, according to the pastor's argument, what if that child would have cured cancer, whereas the mother was pretty much just hanging out shelling peas and watching Gilmore Girls? Does God's supposed plan for this foetus just go away because it's a threat to the mother's life? And if the two lives are equally valuable to God, how is it we automatically choose the mother's? Or is God going to tap us on the shoulder and say, "Um yeah. So I'm going to go ahead and keep the cancer-curer kid. I know you have your laws and stuff that you used me to make but...ooh. Awkward."
Reverend Thames said in the case of rape or child abuse, there should not be an automatic abortion, but attempts should be made to preserve the life of the child and counsel the mother to consider adoption. "If the mother insists on an abortion, this should not be treated as a criminal offence, but as the subject of further counselling," he added.And if I throw a really heavy shoe at someone who's trying to 'counsel' me into his own agenda after I've been through an extremely traumatic experience? What will that be treated as?
Certain things are clearly still escaping the way we govern in the Caribbean: like the fact that your religion cannot dictate my reproductive choices, and that even setting aside the origin of the State's laws, it is still not allowed to plant its flag in my uterus. Ultimately, a woman must be allowed to determine what happens to her own body, for reasons that have to do with human rights, health and well-being, and personal freedoms.