Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Why the indecent haste?

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:16 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am appalled by the insensitivity displayed by The Gleaner at this time of national crisis, in choosing to feature an editorial such as the one titled ‘Whither abortion reform’? Is this really what The Gleaner sees as most important to focus on at a time when our Government is working assiduously to try to contain the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus? There is a certain amount of irony in that as our Government, parliamentarians and health services are battling to save Jamaican lives from a dangerous life-threatening virus, there are those who think the first order of business should be the passing of a bill that seeks to take innocent lives.

Whatever your opinion of the subject in question, this attempt to pressure our Government to rush through such an important piece of legislation, while the country is distracted, is unethical and unscrupulous and is reminiscent of what happened in New Zealand. The writer of the March 23 editorial wrote about the passing of abortion legislation in New Zealand, which would allow abortion up to the fifth month of pregnancy, as a victory. The passing of this bill was nothing short of devious and dishonest. Aware that public support for the proposed abortion legislation was extremely low and the gap between the MPs who supported and opposed the abortion bill was narrowing, the Jacinda Arden government of New Zealand took full advantage of the panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and rushed the final stages of the abortion bill’s progress through Parliament in one day.

Our Government and the Parliament’s Human Resources and Social Development Committee have a duty of care to the most vulnerable members of our society not to heed any call to pass such an important piece of legislation by sleight of hand while the country is preoccupied with the current serious threat to our health and the economy. Bearing in mind that our national polls have shown that the majority of Jamaicans are against abortion, I certainly would not vote for any government that would be so callous and unprincipled, and neither should any well-thinking Jamaican.

ANITA WISE