THE RIGHT TO ABORT
There is a very interesting and useful article in Saturday’s Gleaner, on Rights and Privileges, written by Neville Beckford. The reality is that the article is confronting some very contemporary problems in to-day’s world, and to-day’s Jamaica.
Do we have a right to-day to abort our child, mercy-kill a parent too sick, near dying, at their request, or put a criminal to death? Are any of these privileges allowed by the state or in law? In to-day’s society, some rights may need the support of the State, to be legal.
There are in my estimation, moral rights as human beings, and legal rights as supported by the Government. In Jamaica we are fortunate to have rights of both kinds, compared to the rest of the world. Philosophy says that there are four basic elements to a “right:” These are, privilege, claim, power, and immunity.
Rights include the right to life, the right to choose, to work, to asylum. A right to equal treatment before the law, a right to worship and believe, a right to exist, to be left alone, (or to go to hell in a basket,) among many others; rights to free expression, and of course liberty.
Does one have the right to eat food? Food is something that you purchase, and is not a right awarded by the State, in my opinion. There are situations, like School Feeding Programs, PATH, and others that are available to children and students for subsistence; it is variable from Government to Government and Country to Country, but it is a positive trend to keep children at school well nourished. In Jamaica we also have a right to water.
I do know of just one Country that recently set into law that food is a human right. It has allowed 67% of its production of grains to be distributed to the poor in the form of a subsidy, one US cent for up to 5 kegs of grains every month. That project has just started.
Why would a woman or a family have a right to aborting a fetus or child? If she is raped, or is poor enough not be able to feed her existing family, why would she acquire another member in her family? The woman’s body is her own and her right. It belongs to no one else. If she is in doubt of the good will of her offspring, then she may exercise the right to terminate. As yet, there is no Government Policy on Euthanasia; but there is a policy of death after a conviction.
There is a recent article that suggests that abortions threaten the growth of humanity. There is no support for this as the population of the earth is constantly growing. There is a suggestion that termination of one pregnancy will deprive the world of a superstar. What happens when you allow one, but terminate the next, where is the superstar? Is it the one that came or the one that was aborted? Who knows the answer to this jejune question? I believe the soul of a body is God’s. The body is simply its cover.
Can the pragmatism of the world’s female behavior compare to the superstition of religion? Last year, a woman died in a Hospital in Ireland in the midst of her pregnancy, because her baby also died. The rule of the Catholic Church stipulates that, until the fetus dies, its life cannot be ended, and the Hospital rigorously defended the rule: The woman, a lady in her early thirties, a professional dentist, also died of septicemia. Religious dogma caused that, as it is causing the life to procreate without contraception.
I notice there is a plus however, in that the drug for mitigating pregnancy in women (morning after medication) seems to be available throughout most pharmacies in Jamaica. So I think with this kind of support, the question of aborting a fetus should not arise. The woman and family have a choice to keep or not to keep the fetus, and I do believe that such a choice must be made within eight weeks of conception.