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Abortion in Hairouna

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07.MAR.08

Editor: There is nothing in our world today that takes more human life than legal abortion.

Since 1973, more than 50 million babies have been killed by legal abortion in the United States alone. In Russia today, approximately 60% of all pregnancies are aborted, and due to abortion there is not a single country in Europe that is currently replacing its population. As the discussion about legal abortion heats up in the region and across world, I am amazed at how such a contentious issue is either minimized or treated as a non-issue in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).{{more}}

Many Vincentians would be quite surprised to learn that abortion is legal in SVG. I visited a site that summarizes the abortion laws of almost every country in the world. If you use the link below you will discover, as I did, that abortion is quite easily accessed in SVG (http://www.pregnantpause.org/lex/world02.jsp). In SVG abortions are allowed if the pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, and to preserve the mental and physical health of women. Abortion is “legally allowed” in the case of rape, also, if it is determined that the child has some defect. It is also allowed for social and economic reasons. The site lists abortion as not being legally available to Vincentians on demand. However, with all the options opened to individuals under the law, it is essentially available on demand.

The effects of these changes to our laws are very much a matter of public knowledge. The primary effect is that SVG has been having enough abortions to retard our fertility rate to below replacement. This is borne out in concerns about low birth rates at the hospital, and in the fact that the Ministry of Education has openly said it records fewer and fewer children entering our school system each year. There are so few children in our primary schools (more so in rural SVG) that some of them have been converted to secondary schools. How do we know that abortion is the culprit? According to Popin, the UN population information network, replacement level fertility rate is a minimum of 2.1 children per woman. It has long been stated by the UN and other agencies that the only way to get fertility rates to fall below replacement is through massive resort to abortion. During the last population census it was discovered that St.Vincent’s population had declined from 110,000 to 106,000. A visit to the Popin online database reveals that even with low variants considered, SVG is currently undergoing negative population growth predicted for the year 2040. This depopulation has been exacerbated by migration, but make no mistake abortion is the major mitigating factor in our population woes.

The elevated rate of negative population growth has serious implications for Vincenian society. SVG already has a small population, so in a short time we could well see a situation in which there are more dependants than there are workers. This could lead for example to the collapse of the NIS. A shortage of all classes of professionals is not something we are in a position to withstand. What are the implications for vital services, health, education, security, and agriculture? Another more sinister effect of abortion on our society is a diminishing of the respect for human life. Our laws now allow confused frightened young people to decide which child shall live and which shall die. When issues as fundamental as membership in the human family and, the right to life are so routinely and arbitrarily decided by a large cross section of society, can we reasonably expect society to remain respectful of the gift of life? We cannot continue to allow such disregard for life and the physical and psychological wounding of our women; abortion must be addressed. How many abortions are performed per year, and at what cost, and for which reasons? Not that any of the answers would justify abortion, as the killing of the innocent is always wrong. We must, however, have a sense that the authorities know what is happening and what the ramifications are for the future. Only from an informed position can we quantify the harm that is being done and ascertain what can be done to reverse it.

Salt

Editor’s note: The easy availability and effectiveness of today’s birth control methods makes it easy for women to decide if and when they want to have child. Many families are able to do that successfully without having to resort to abortion.

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