Committee should review effect of law legalising abortion
Stabroek News
November 30, 2001

Dear editor,

Eight years ago Gail Teixeira, the then Minister of Health came before the nation saying that we had an abortion law which was unenforceable.

After a long debate and much opposition the Minister got her way, the law was changed and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed.

Five years since the passing of the law legalizing abortion, and two health ministers later, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the present minister of health, complains(S/N.20,2001),that while the public sector did not provide abortion services, it was burdened by the terminations done elsewhere, which sometimes resulted in complications, and that there was little or no regard by the medical profession to honour the reporting and counselling requirements of the law.

Dr. Ramsammy is saying to the nation that having passed laws in Parliament which gave legal status to the original abortion providers, who were doctors in private hospitals and clinics, he now cannot enforce the law to make them comply with it.

His solution to this dilemma is to provide abortion services on the already burdened (his word) public sector.

News about abortion is always sad news and Dr. Ramsammy's news is no laughing matter. Many writers in your letter columns argued that changing the law and legalizing abortion would in fact protect women from ruthless doctors. It is obvious from Dr. Ramsammy's statement and from past reports that this has not happened - where are their voices now? The time has come for parliament to set up a select committee to revisit the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and its ineffectiveness in reducing the practice of abortions in our society today.

Yours faithfully,

Fr.Keith Hardless