Categorized | National News

Illegal Abortions Hard To Control

Even though abortions, under certain circumstances, are illegal in The Bahamas, Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez said it’s not something that the government can control easily.

The issue of abortion came to light recently when the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) said that the government’s stance on ‘state- sanctioned abortions’ were inadequate.

Abortion is illegal in The Bahamas through the Penal Code of 1924.

It allows for abortions to be “lawfully permitted under specific circumstances relating explicitly to the preservation of the mental and physical health of the woman and to save the life of the woman.”

Dr. Gomez said even though abortion is illegal there is no punishment or fine for anyone engaged in the practice.

“It’s something that is very difficult to police,” he said. “I don’t know if the government would be involved in that kind of minutia of medical care. It would be interesting to get a panel together and discuss with professionals in that area like gynecologists to hear what they say about it.”

The minister also said that it was once known that abortions were done outside medical facilities.

“[There were] times past when young women went to other places they shouldn’t have. It is one of the great challenges where people who did not have access to care and making a choice and having things done in unsanitary conditions led to the deaths to many women – not only here, but around the world,” Dr. Gomez said.

Speaking with the media yesterday, Dr. Gomez said he believes in a woman’s right to choose.

“I believe in choice for women, but abortions are legal in The Bahamas under certain circumstances where there are medical indications for abortions because there is a danger for the life of the mother and there are various conditions for that and they are done in the hospital and that is the law,” he said.

“It’s a decision between the mother and her physician,” Dr. Gomez added. “You don’t know the circumstances. Every individual is different and every couple is different.”

Though it is taboo, it is a well-known fact that abortions are practiced outside the scope of the law’s requirements.

Citizens For Justice (CFJ) President Bishop Walter Hanchell has condemned ‘state-sanctioned’ abortions.

“Abortion is the most cowardly act in the history of mankind,” he said. “It is the brutal murder of innocent babies by greedy, selfish, immoral persons with no value for the sanctity of human life. It is no different than a cold blooded murderer. As a matter of fact, it is worse, since the victims of abortion do not even have the slightest chance to defend themselves,” he said in a release.

The CFJ president said that state-sanctioned and legalised abortions are “nothing less than murder and symbolise a nation in its final state of moral decay.”

“These murders are committed each day in private and public hospitals even though they are illegal, yet our politicians and the police have remained silent and tight-lipped on this crucial matter for many years,” he said.

Bishop Hanchell said he will continue to fight against abortions in The Bahamas.

“If a mother was to get pregnant and she does not want the baby, they should give it up for adoption. Have the baby. Do not abort that life. It is a precious life,” he said.

Meanwhile the minister said if abortion becomes a major issue, it would be something the government would consider.

But for now, he says it is a non-issue.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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