Pro life values are killing poor women
Stabroek News
January 3, 2002

Dear Editor,

Ms Samantha Alleyne reported the deaths of three women from unsafe abortions (SN Dec. 13). These are all recent deaths in spite of a 1995 law that made abortion legal.

One mother, Shanta, is mourned by her husband, Krishanand and their three children aged seven months, three years and five years.

A second victim, Parbattie, was 29 and she also left three children.

And Sharon was a third tragedy. Aged 30, she left six children behind.

Ms Alleyne's report gives real meaning to Ms Baldeo's questions: What is to be gained by destroying the mother's life along with her foetus? How does increasing the number of motherless children advance the public welfare? (Baldeo, SN 12 31).

All the foetuses that those mothers wanted to destroy have died. So have the poor women who had those unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. No rich women die from abortions simply because they can pay for access to skilled medical practitioners.

A real pro life approach would minimize death. It would have kept the three mothers alive to care for the lives of their twelve other children. This requires a service in our public hospitals.

What is the moral virtue of destroying the mothers' lives? Who is responsible for these deaths?

According to Ms Alleyne's report, Shanta's death certificate gives her cause of death as septicemia and shock from a severe blood loss. I don't think so. Nor do I believe that she was killed by the 'doctor' at Mon Repos.

I believe the real agents of her death are those who create the climate of shame around unwanted pregnancies. The killers are those whose taboos make it impossible for women to speak with their partners about abortions. The killers are the ones who, by creating the social stigma of abortion, maintain the clandestine, backstreet, bottom house butchery of women.

I blame Shanta's death on the anti choice pro lifers. Shanta, Parbattie and Sharon were all killed by pro life's values.

That is the hurdle the Minister of Health must overcome in order to reduce maternal deaths. For it is those who hold this narrow, pro foetus view who will oppose his provision of an abortion service in our public hospitals.

Yours faithfully,

B. J. Singh