Poor women must be informed of hospital abortion service
Stabroek News
December 18, 2001

Dear Editor,

Six years ago, our government made abortion legal, providing it was done with a woman's consent and by appropriate medical personnel acting in good faith.

Throughout the two year campaign, a main justification for the new law was that it was essential for improving poor women's health since women with money were already getting safe abortions from private practitioners.

Unfortunately, the new law made no difference to public hospitals. They did not respond to the needs of poor women.

Finally last month, the new Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, announced his intention to provide abortion services in public hospitals.

Unless there is a public campaign specifically directed to inform poor women that they can now end any unwanted pregnancy at public hospitals, they will continue to go to backstreet providers, and they will continue to show up badly damaged in the public hospitals.

I would like to know whether there has been any provision of abortion services in our public hospitals since Minister Ramsammy's announcement. If there has been none, what will it take to get the service going? The public deserves to know.

The new conflict between the Minister and the Medical Association will not advance the implementation of this service. Once again, poor women are left at the bottom of the heap.

Yours faithfully,

Funke Oyegun