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MP wants anti-abortion laws repealed

Published:Wednesday | May 7, 2014 | 12:29 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Member of parliament for North West St Ann, Dr Dayton Campbell has called for anti-abortion laws to be repealed while chastising religious conservatives for frustrating decades of efforts to settle the debate.

Currently, the law makes abortion illegal, except in some cases of medical emergency.

According to Section 72 of the Offences Against the Person Act, anyone found guilty of having or facilitating an abortion could be sentenced to life in prison, with or without hard labour.

Campbell says he is not advocating for abortion as a contraceptive measure.

However, in making his Sectoral Debate contribution in the House of Representatives yesterday, Dr Campbell said the law represents a misuse of Government power by taking away the right of a woman to decide.

He cited a 2006 opinion survey that indicated that about 60 per cent of Jamaicans support abortion that is legal, safe, affordable and conducted under special conditions.

Campbell, who is a medical doctor, says the current law is discriminatory and affects mostly poor women who he says are in desperate need of the service.

Meanwhile, the MP criticised the religious lobby for the drawn out debate over whether the anti-abortion laws should be repealed in Jamaica.

According to him, conservative religious views are not sensitive to reproductive rights.

Last year, Youth Minister Lisa Hanna resurrected the abortion debate when she told the Parliament that Jamaica needs to face the reality that many persons having children are themselves children, with no parenting skills.


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