Written by: Shelly-Ann “Dr Sexy-Ann” Weeks
Abortion is one of the few topics that gets very passionate responses especially when we look at making it legal. On both sides of the debate, there are valid points that proves the argument one way or the other. My participation to the debate is that it should definitely be legal. There are several reasons for my feelings on the topic, including the fact the Abortion law and similar pieces of legislation is only really evidence of our misogynistic culture’s effort to continue to control the female body.
So let me unpack why I believe that there needs to be a more comprehensive approach to the Abortion issue that excludes individuals religious beliefs and includes the rights of women to govern their own bodies, but the current status is causing more harm than good in the society overall. Here’s why:
Prohibition does not work
Even though abortion is illegal in Jamaica, individuals are getting them. History has proven that prohibition on substances or acts, just facilitates illegal activities and don’t deter individuals from engaging, as is the objective of the law. Also because there are no regulations, doctors charge exorbitant fees and there is no recourse if an abortion is botched or if the patient ends up experiencing complications as a result of the procedure.
Education about reproductive options should be complete
The illegal status of abortion makes it difficult for medical professionals to properly advise patients of ALL their options. Also schools don’t teach anything about the procedure, its benefits or risks. Since its illegal there is no effort made to properly educate the public about it. This is a mistake, since the risks can be life threatening and since the patients who seek this service is doing so illegally, it’s easy to overlook important information.
A victim of rape or sexual assault should have the option
I don’t have to make any arguments about the trauma that victims of rape and sexual assault experience. We should never ask these victims to possible face criminalization because they don’t to carry the child of their rapist. It should be a choice that the victims get to make, not the law.
There is no Male equivalent
When I point out that the abortion law and others like it are attempts made by a patriarchal society to control the bodies and choices of women, many people scoff at the thought. But the fact is, there are no laws that invades the personal choices of men the way these laws do for women. If a man is topless, he breaks no laws, but exposed female nipples are considered “indecent exposure” and carries the requisite penalties if this law is broken.
I personally think that religious belief is personal and should remain such to the individuals who choose to believe it and not the basis on which laws are created to govern all the citizen of a country. So when the subject of God comes up in a conversation about abortions, I find it interesting, because in the case of a rape victim, am I supposed to believe that God sent a rapist to pregnant a woman as a part of his plan? That premise is not only disturbing so many levels, what happen to the love and compassion that God is supposed to be known for?
At the end of the day, women are dying from botch abortions and doctors are being turned into criminal with the current abortion laws so it’s clear that it’s not effective. If women had access to full health care and the access to comprehensive information about reproductive health, then the results be better not just for her, for society overall. It’s time we step out of the dark ages and stop trying to control the choices and bodies of women. The choice to have a child should be just that, a choice, not a consequence.