Weighing In On Abortion: Part One

Here in Jamaica we’ve had several short periods of time were abortion becomes the topic at hand, we have persons who are prochoice and pro-life consistently weigh in. A friend of mine wrote a letter to the editor just recently, commenting on the fact that there was talk about having the legalisation of abortion be decided via a referendum. To me, that seems like an expensive cop out to not make the hard decisions yourself- plus we know the ‘christian majority’ would never allow a pro choice bill to pass….


I am pro choice. Whether or not I would personally have an abortion doesn’t affect my stance on the matter. Jamaican women are having abortions everyday and are living through the complications of unsafe, under the table abortions. The quality of your abortion just may be proportional to its price, which leaves many women vulnerable to participating in riskier procedures.

The surgical procedures for abortion are done ‘hush hush’ and who you go to really comes from who you hear does it through the grape vine. “Abortion pills” are sold on the black market and are easily accessible without a prescription. However, these pills are an incomplete regime for a medical abortion (the last time I heard). Read more on types of abortions here.

Making abortions illegal, doesn’t prevent them from happening.

It only propagates abortions happening in unsafe settings, were the quality is often proportional to cost, leaving a large number of women vulnerable. Legislation levels the playing field, it puts into place the necessary steps to having a safe abortion both physically and mentally. It makes safe abortions more accessible to all women.

The ‘Foetus vs Mother’ debate is irrelevant to the legalising of abortion. If you feel the foetus is a being and should not be terminated- then don’t have an abortion. The pro-life/prochoice debate holds back our country where the mortality and morbidity associated with unsafe abortions continues to climb. It is time, we allow for change in the right direction and put our women at the forefront of our minds.

Having an abortion is not an easy decision to make, there are several complications that can happen from the procedure that can put women’s life and future fertility at risk. Having it legalised puts in place safe and standard care which looks at women as a whole, considering their mental and physical health. Legislation would dramatically bring down the complication rate of our ‘under the table’ abortions and help remove the stigma associated with having an abortion.

Full time now we put the needs of women at the forefront our minds and provide proper abortion services.

No matter your view on the subject, there is no way to stop abortions from happening. You should never think that your opinion on a matter, that won’t affect you directly, should be enough to stop others from having a safe choice…

I encourage, Jamaicans, especially our women, to speak up and out about abortion and fight for the right to have a choice.


Samantha C. Johnson

I have linked several ‘Letters of the Day’ in this article (ironically, almost all from men- sorry!), please take the time out to read them and see the views of Jamaicans and research more. I hope that this blog post may have served in anyway to help the fight for access to safe and accessible abortions in Jamaica. 


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