Dear Editor, Maam
This letter is in response to the Gleaner’s Editorial which seeks to reenergize efforts towards the death of future Jamaicans. It seems the self-inflicted panic of death-lovers in the United States caused by the leak of the first draft of the majority opinion of Chief Justice Alito has caused the skin of some of their local ambassadors on north street to “ketch a fya”. The Gleaner and an unimpressive minority of Jamaicans seem to wish for our 60th Anniversary celebration that every Jamaican womb be declared a legal and reformed grave. How exquisitely progressive..
Their call, geared to awaken Mrs. Cuthbert Flynn to using her position as State Minister of Health to pave the way to the shedding of innocent blood, is a most oxymoronic effort as it is generally understood that true health cannot concurrently kill people, no matter how small they are. But this is far from the most concerning part of this gory Editorial, which represents an evolution from the position expressed in their previous editorial published on January 11, 2021, titled “Next move on abortion trail”. There they advocated for abortion up to 22 weeks gestation. In their latest iteration, the paper calls for a Jamaican equivalent to Roe v Wade, which made abortion the constitutional right of every woman through all stages of pregnancy across the United States; but which was somewhat modifiable by state governments. They note they would want abortion to be allowed over 22 weeks, but only in “very limited circumstances, including if the life of the mother is threatened”. The threatening of the life of the mother does not bring the current medical operations into conflict with abortion laws, as no doctor needs to deliberately kill a baby, i.e. cracking skulls, etc. in order to save a woman. The baby is delivered and every effort is made to save him or her while at the same time preserving the life of the mother, so that statement holds no ground whatsoever. I am however interested to know the other “very limited” circumstances that haven’t been mentioned, which the Gleaner would want to see the skulls of little Jamaicans crushed and their limbs ripped apart.
Lying with Statistics
The Gleaner also sought to downplay the real-life impact of legalizing the killing of unborn children, saying that some critics claim that “easier access to abortion… would not necessarily translate to more abortions”. They even went as far as to note that the abortion rate fell from 30 per 100,000 in the early 1980s to 13.5 in 2017. What they conveniently forgot to share is that within the first decade after the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, the number of abortions shot up dramatically from 16.2 per 100,000 to 30 per 100,000 before 1983. This was followed by a steady decline, altogether killing over 63 million American babies to date. They have killed Jamaica’s population more than 30 times! Where the Gleaner sees a trend worthy of replication, the Jamaican people have clearly chosen otherwise, with the latest Bill Johnson poll (2019) showing that 75% of Jamaicans want the law against abortion to remain untouched.
The People vs. The Gleaner
This is precisely why the Gleaner is calling for a conscience vote. As it would have the same effect as Roe v Wade, taking away the democratic rights of our people; ensuring we really have no say in the matter. This is precisely why Roe v Wade is being deemed bad law by the majority of Supreme Court judges. It removed the democratic rights of individuals in their own states to govern themselves and replaced it with a constitutionally baseless federal decree. That kind of totalitarianism may seem fantastic to the Gleaner, but I firmly believe most of us still believe in the principles of democracy and life.
While it would seem that many nations are moving towards the legalization of abortion, giving in to international pressures, a number of exceptions have been overlooked. In October 2020 some 35 states signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration which declared for the first time that there is no universal right to abortion. Honduras passed laws against abortion in January 2021, adding the ban to their constitution, changeable by a vote of no less than two-thirds of their Congress. The National Congress of Honduras tweeted “This state power is committed to continue defending and fighting for life”. Guatemala in March 2022 declared itself the Pro-life capital of Latin America with President Giammattei vowing to protect life from conception to natural death. And now we know that there is the potential for the United States to dissolve Roe v. Wade, putting the decisions regarding abortion back to individual states.
The Way Forward
While we reflect on the state of our nation and consider the 60th Anniversary of our Independence, may we resolve that there should be less and not more shedding of innocent blood. If the Gleaner is right and some 20,000 abortions take place each year, this means roughly 60 Jamaicans are killed every day in the womb. This should not be! Nations are rightly judged on how they treat their weakest citizens, and none is weaker and in need of more protection than the unborn Jamaican.
Dr. Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and president of the Love March Movement, a youth Christian organization for sexual purity and the family.