By: Wayne Plummer. Greater Portmore, St Catherine, Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am going out on a limb and declaring the real motive behind the push in Jamaica and worldwide to legalise abortion: It is the desire to live a sexually hedonistic lifestyle without having to live with the consequences of one’s actions.
Why do I say this? It is a fact that, with the exception of cases of rape and incest resulting in pregnancies, all pregnancies (in vitro fertilisation excluded) occur as a result of consensual sexual activity between a man and a woman. Although there is no dispute surrounding this basic fact of life, supporters of abortion on demand conveniently ignore that abstaining from sex and responsible sexual behaviour will reduce, if not eradicate, unwanted pregnancies.
Let’s face it, pregnancy is not an infectious disease a woman contracts from coming into contact with an infected person or from breathing in a virus. It therefore follows that prevention should be a logical part of the discussion about unplanned pregnancies, but the silence is deafening!
I hasten to acknowledge that no preventative measure, except for abstaining from sex, provides a 100 per cent guarantee; however, in some cases, a known failure can be counteracted to prevent conception and remove any need to consider an abortion.
Still, there is not a word about prevention or responsible sexual behaviour. What we hear, instead, are arguments about a woman’s right to exercise control over her body, men policing women’s bodies, poor women’s inability to afford safe abortions, unwanted pregnancies, and deaths from botched abortions. All the above are simply code for saying, “We have a right to be sexually irresponsible without facing the consequences of exercising that right!”
It appears to me that responsible sexual behaviour would solve most of the concerns raised.
I anticipate pro-choice supporters will dismiss abstaining from sexual intercourse as unrealistic and possibly point to the cost of contraceptives as being out of the reach of those most in need of them. Such a position will be conveniently ignoring that, here in Jamaica, a variety of contraceptives are available at health centres at no cost to end users.
So, what about victims of rape and incest? I concede that such pregnancies are especially difficult to navigate. These cases attract empathy from even those most staunchly opposed to abortion under any circumstance.
I am inclined to support the following recommendations by Kenneth Richards, Roman Catholic archbishop of Kingston, for dealing with victims of rape and incest:
• We must not allow easy cases for administering justice to escape criminal penalty and publicity. Taking steps to administer justice through follow-up on easy cases can be a deterrent. Therefore, make effective application of laws against sexual abuse.
• We must advance campaigns that enable and empower victims of sexual abuse to seek immediate assistance and support. Families and community structures must become a space of trust for victims to immediately report abuse.
• Seeking immediate help can prevent the possibility of pregnancy resulting from rape and abuse. A campaign to break the silence can create an environment that empowers victims of sexual abuse.
• Breaking the silence can also (1) prevent and mitigate health challenges associated with sexually transmitted infections; (2) provide early psychosocial support; and (3) prevent a pregnancy that can lead to further moral complications.
Pro-choice supporters frame the abortion debate as a women’s right issue, but I suggest that, after all is said and done, the issue is really about wanting the ‘right’ to be sexually irresponsible without bearing the consequences of one’s actions.