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Fast track review of anti-abortion law, says advocate

Published:Tuesday | March 29, 2016 | 1:41 PMJerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter

Attorney-at-law and children and woman’s rights advocate, Margrette Macaulay, says Jamaica needs to fast track the review of the country’s anti-abortion law in light of the public health concerns associated with Zika virus (ZIKV) and pregnant women.

Macaulay says local authorities must move urgently to implement measures to protect Jamaican women.


Attorney-at-law and children and woman’s rights advocate, Margrette Macaulay

The Zika virus has been linked to serious birth defects.

In January, Jamaica’s Ministry of Health joined other countries in appealing to women to delay pregnancy for the next six to 12 month.

The ministry also urged those already pregnant to take extra precautions in light of health risks to unborn children of pregnant women who become infected with the Zika virus.

Macaulay reiterates that the termination of pregnancy remains illegal in Jamaica.

However, she says a 1975 ministerial paper allows government health facilities and private doctors to terminate a pregnancy where, after the opinion of two doctors, it has been determined that the continuation of the pregnancy will put the mental and physical health of the woman at risk.

Macaulay is of the view that Jamaica needs to accelerate its review of its anti-abortion laws to bring them in line with international human and women’s rights.