Thu | Nov 30, 2023

Buggery, abortion laws won’t be changed during constitutional reform process – Malahoo Forte

Published:Wednesday | June 7, 2023 | 1:25 AM
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Marlene Malahoo Forte.
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Marlene Malahoo Forte.

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte yesterday sought to allay fears among members of the religious community, disclosing that the Government did not intend to disturb any savings law clauses in the Constitution or repeal pre-existing laws that would go against fundamental beliefs held by the Church.

In her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Malahoo Forte “put to ease” concerns held by the Christian community regarding any changes that might be made to savings clauses in the Constitution.

The savings provisions in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms protects the buggery law and the law prohibiting abortion from being challenged under the Charter of Rights.

“This Andrew Holness-led administration is on no path to collide with the Church or any other well-thinking member of the Jamaican society on issues which define the fabric of our society, even in the presence of challenges,” she said.

The minister noted that, as a nation, “we have many problems and we are going to have to work out these problems and hear from each other and learn to live better with our differences”.

Diverting from her prepared text, Malahoo Forte said she has heard the issue of abortion raised by one of her parliamentary colleagues.

However, the minister took a personal position that would not see her supporting the controversial issue.

“I say to people that changing the law for abortion will never be my platform for the simple reason that my mother told me that when she was pregnant with me, at every stage of her pregnancy, she was told to abort me,” she divulged.

Malahoo Forte said her mother was told that “if she didn’t abort me, she would die and I would die”.

She added: “I, in honour of my mother and in respect of my life, take a certain position.

“For my own history, my own narrative, circumstances around my own life, the abortion issue is not mine. Let me just make it clear.”