Noel Brathwaite PhD wrote a letter, which was published in the Advocate of 28th November 2003 in response to my last article on commercial pressures. I am grateful for his complimentary remarks. However, his conclusions depended on my responses to various questions posed in his letter. Preparing such responses exhausted the time allotted to writing this week’s article. Since others may have similar questions, I shall present his questions with my responses as this week’s contribution.
1. Is there really an abortion industry? Performing abortions should not be an industry but it has become one.
2. Who profits from these abortions? Among other people, the persons who perform them.
3. Is this industry regulated? Performing abortions is governed by the Laws of Barbados, specifically, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy act; however, the provisions of the act are not being enforced to prevent abortion on demand.
4. Who are the stakeholders? Among other people, babies whose lives will be terminated, mothers who choose to have abortions, persons who perform the abortion procedures, contributors to the National Insurance Scheme, and every human being that can be positively impacted by the contribution that the baby can potentially make to humanity.
5. Is the foetus at some stage mere tissue? Human tissue contains highly complex biological material, and in that respect, our adult bodies can also be considered to be mere tissue. From the moment of conception, the normal development of the ‘human tissue’ would be a person with the potential to positively impact their community.
6. At what stage in its development is it a baby or truly human? On the day of conception the sperm joins with ovum to form a living cell that contains the genetic information for every detail of their development including their sex, height, and skin colour. The baby’s heart begins to beat by the 21st day. At 8 weeks old, everything that can be found in an adult human is found in the baby-in–the–womb, and its body responds to touch. I believe that a person starts to develop from the moment of conception.
7. Are all abortions just for the sake of it or are some abortions justified? Are there conditions that may justify abortions or accommodate them, such as saving the life of the mother or when rape leads to pregnancy? The Medical Termination of Pregnancy act permits abortions for both of these cases. However, they are completely separate issues from abortion on demand, and should not be used to detract from the current practise of killing babies for convenience as a method of contraception.
8. Is abortion really “carnage”? Abortion on demand is the incomprehensible torture and death of so many of the most innocent and defenceless among us in the safest of all places. There have been over 40 million killed during the past 30 years in the United States of America alone.
9. Has the current Minister of Health really inherited the responsibility to stop it, and who gave him this responsibility – Cabinet? The Medical Termination of Pregnancy act gives the Minister of Health the instruments to restrain the practise of abortions so that it does not degenerate into a slaughter of babies for convenience.
The needless death of so many Barbadian babies distresses me. History has shown that every generation had opportunities to address at least one terrible injustice that had inexplicably become established in their communities. The injustices included genocide, slavery, political, racial, and religious persecution, the rape of children, and the oppression of women. History has also shown that the apathetic majority can allow such injustices to continue for generations, awakening only if they believe that their personal security is threatened.
There are many injustices in the world today, but the torture and killing of future generations of human beings simply for convenience is perhaps the greatest injustice of them all.
Grenville Phillips II