Tue | May 26, 2020

Romain Stewart | Don’t give ammo to abortion lobby

Published:Wednesday | August 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM

I have read Yvonne McCalla Sobers’ contribution to The Sunday Gleaner of August 11, 2019, titled ‘Abortion: Whose decision?’ and have the following two scientific comments. The first surrounds McCalla Sobers’ claim that unsafe abortions are the third direct cause of maternal mortality in Jamaica. The second issue is that the first opponent that pro-abortionists could face is hard science and not the Church.

Hard science includes biology and embryology. Professor emeritus of human embryology, Dr C. Ward Kischer of the University of Arizona School of Medicine, said the following: “Every human embryologist worldwide states that the life of a new individual human being begins at fertilisation.” (as cited in American College of Pediatrics, 2017)

Surely, it is agreed that the fruit of human conception is neither purely sperm nor purely egg. The confusion in the minds of pro-abortionists seems to be whether the fruit of conceptions is just another human cell like a liver cell or cheek cell. But as Dr Maureen Condic, professor of neurobiology and paediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, puts it, mere human cells (like the liver cell or the cheek cell) cannot produce a fully integrated human body under any circumstance (2014).

Hard science is saying that human life starts at conception. This means that pro-abortionists in Jamaica would need a licence to kill in order to get their wishes. Pro-abortionists are in tremendous dissonance with science. This ­dissonance cannot be discounted.

McCalla Sobers’ claim ­regarding unsafe abortions and maternal mortality would not satisfy the requirements for a licence to kill the fruit of conception, so the following disputation is only of academic interest. What does the word ‘unsafe’ mean? Can abortions ever be safe?

Dr Orville Morgan, senior ­medical officer at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH), cited a study of 18 consecutive women who presented themselves at the early pregnancy unit at the VJH in October 2017. Five of the women admitted to attempting to abort their baby. Of this five, four had the assistance of doctors (Morgan, as cited by Jones, 2017). After having a doctor involved in the abortion, why did these four women need to report to the VJH?

Additionally, well-known local obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Michael Abrahams has said: “Even when performed carefully, abortions can result in complications, perforation of the uterus, bladder or bowel, infertility, miscarriages, preterm labour, menstrual irregularities, depression and even death.” (as cited by Jones, 2017)

Abortion is simply unsafe and cannot be made safe.


The report of abortion as the third-leading direct cause of ­maternal mortality in Jamaica seems inaccurate. Is this statistic for the 15-44 age group, or is it restricted to adolescents? Why classify causes as direct? Restrictions and classifications may highlight certain causes, like abortion, that are less significant than other causes.

In 2001, McCaw-Binns, Standard-Goldson, Ashley, Walker and MacGillivray detailed their review of the maternal mortality in Jamaica from 1993-1995. The ­pecking order for the causes of maternal death over this period were: eclampsia, with 51 deaths; haemorrhage, with 25; ­thrombo-embolism, with 18; other indirect deaths, with 11; genital tract sepsis, with eight; genital tract trauma, with eight; diabetes mellitus, with five; and abortion tied with cardiac disorder and ­sickle-cell, with four deaths each.

Four deaths over a three-year period is approximately one ­maternal death per year.

Dr Ardene Harris this year ­presented the Jamaican maternal mortality report for the 2016-2018 triennium. Abortion was still at four maternal deaths and placing ninth behind many of the causes already mentioned in McCaw-Binns and others (2001). The ­statistic of ­abortion being the third-leading cause of maternal deaths seems inaccurate and misleading.

As shown here, science is not on the side of pro-abortionists. Scientifically, human life starts at the moment of conception. The pro-abortionist’s desire for a licence to kill the fruit of conception cannot be satisfied under any circumstance.

Romain Stewart is a pro-both-lives advocate based in St James. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and romainstewart@gmail.com.