Time and again we debate our debating of the A word in Jamaica. In Parliament. On the streets. In churches. In the bedroom. In doctor’s offices. In back alleys. With hangers, with pills, with blood.
The ‘A’ word. Abortion.
The idea is castigated by our ‘Christian-minded’ nationalism and people get very upset whenever it’s brought up. Words like ‘murder’ and ‘human life’ get thrown around. Women are accused of being careless and cruel.
I think too often we get caught up in Christian morals to the detriment of our fellow citizens. As if we forget that slavery too was sanctioned by ‘God’. And I’m not saying that people shouldn’t read Bible, praise Jesus and pray to their Lord but the same way I stay out of Christian people churches is the same way the Church-State should stay out of women’s bodies.
Much like the buggery law it’s simply embarrassing that abortion continues to be a debate in government in 2018. Not even a debate, an issue so taboo we don’t even talk about it. Like sex education. Come to think of it, maybe abortion would be less of an issue if there was more sex ed. I digress.
It’s high time we doctors stopped pussy-footing around while women suffer. And it’s high time Parliament stopped ignoring the issue just because it makes the Church uncomfortable. If you not going to clamp down seriously on rape, stop bawl out when the victims are forced deal with the consequences.
Give women the choice, and get your damn hands off our wombs.
This article from our local paper and this one from the Washington Post are both about Lloyd Goldson, a gynaecologist from Kingston who was arrested a week ago for performing an abortion on a twelve year-old girl. Her mother is being charged as well for cruelty to a child. Come to think of it, I’m not sure which child she’s being charged for.
Surprisingly I’ve never ranted before about abortions (or other morally dubious medical strategies). It’s weird, because this is such a passionate topic for me. Ever since high school, the great “abortion debate” has been waged, and I’ve somehow always been the only (or one of the few) pro-choice camper(s). And I use the word ‘debate’ loosely, because I don’t think any number of convincing arguments is going to convince this government to legalize abortions any time soon. Church. State. Nuff said.
So when I heard this tidbit come over the radio this morning on my way to school, I saw red. And it wasn’t just the colour of my school bus. The people behind me were arguing that abortion was illegal, so why do doctors keep doing them anyway? And in class why do they always mention terminating pregnancies so casually, like you can’t potentially lose your license by doing it? That was their argument.
So I turned around and (innocently, innocently I tell you) asked,
“So what happen to the asshole who go breed the girl in the first place?”
Whereupon they agreed that of course he should be brought to justice as well. But inside I was still churning. They are going to arrest the mother who brought her little girl to the doctor to help her, and the doctor who was trying to do a good thing. Yet the man who either (a) raped this girl or (b) had consensual sex with a minor (and it’s still rape, guys) is walking around scot-free. I find that fundamentally wrong.
I really feel for the doctors when I hear these cases, because they are sworn to “do no harm” but yet have to navigate all kinds of moral morasses in order to preserve life. And before someone gets self-righteous and picket-y, the doctor’s patient was the girl in this case. Not her unborn foetus. Twelve year olds are simply not equipped to have children; and he had to decide if the pregnancy would do more harm than the treatment (i.e. the abortion). If he’s as good a doctor as they say, then he’d have made what he thought was the best decision given the situation. I just hope they don’t lynch him for it.
Yesterday might have been April Fool’s, but there was hardly anything funny about the tragedies that came to light over the course of the weekend. From car crashes to child abuse, the newspapers had no short of depressing, traumatizing and otherwise horrific stories to share with the public.
Three separate traffic collisions claimed the lives of six people in one day. Portmore. Manchester. Falmouth. Every single one of them caused by careless mistakes, bad driving and misjudgements on the part of the driver. Seriously? We need to get our acts together.
A doctor came forward with stories of abused children, and I’m talking babies, here, not just pre-teens or teenagers. And they were all abused by family members, people they trusted. Pastors, fathers, babysitters. What is wrong with these people? Some of these children died from their injuries. The ones who survive will never get another chance at a normal childhood; children’s resilience can only go so far.
Another, albeit more controversial news story that broke over the weekend was the doctor who got arrested for performing an abortion on a 16 year old girl. Apparently she reported him after she developed complications. The story on the Jamaica Observer’s website is vague (deliberately so?), but public sentiment will turn the tide against the doctor because we the church continues to be staunchly pro-life. I feel it for this man, 74 years old and facing a criminal charge. Possibly his first. Unless he was the one who got the girl pregnant, I’m going to be firmly on his side.