Minister has a legal duty to implement the abortion law
Stabroek News
December 19, 2001

Dear Editor,

"As Minister of Health, my portfolio leaves me no option but to implement the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act I would be less than responsible if I ignored my duty...".

This is an important statement from Dr. Ramsammy in his response to Fr. Hardless (SN 12 16 01).

It is all the more meaningful in the light of the recent death of a mother of three, reported in Stabroek News, Dec. 13, 01.

The Minister's statement is particularly interesting in view of a court ruling in South Africa. In a landmark decision the High Court brushed aside the government's case that providing Nevirapine to pregnant mothers was impractical and ordered the government to do so (Daily Mail & Guardian Pretoria, Friday, December 14, 2001). The government must now provide the drug to all women who give birth in the public sector and is required to provide a detailed action plan within three months.

It is also interesting to note that the case against the government was brought by a non governmental organisation, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

I sincerely hope that the Minster's forthright statement will stall any legal action intended to compel the Ministry of Health to implement its own law. Still, he should not delay action for too long.

Yours faithfully,

Law Student (name and address provided)