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Support for motion to decriminalise abortion

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn

A non-governmental organisation has voiced its support for the motion tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn calling for a debate on the legislation that criminalises abortion.

The Advocates for the Partnership for the Promotion of Patients' Rights in Maternal, Neonatal, and Infant Health (MNIH) said that it welcomed the motion, which calls for the repeal of a statute that threatens women to life imprisonment with or without hard labour.

The group noted that a conversation on "unsafe abortion and human rights" was recently sponsored by the Jamaica Council of Churches, with over 20 civil society organisations participating.

"With unsafe abortions being the third leading cause of maternal deaths in Jamaica, the forum provided a space for the exchange of views on what are seen as challenging, but necessary, personal and public health issues that need to be addressed once and for all," added the group.

"The motion is, therefore, very timely and strategic. It provides the opportunity for legislators across the aisle, and among female parliamentarians, in particular, to put an end to the criminalisation of poverty among vulnerable women and girls who may need termination of pregnancy for considered reasons.

"This is the time for responsive leadership to influence the nation and put in place civil legislation to regulate the termination of pregnancy under specified conditions. It is timely to give recognition to the human rights of women to choose and take the decision for themselves, with support and advice, on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy," said the MNIH.