Action for Full Protection of Women’s Reproductive Rights in JA

The PNP Women’s Movement is encouraging lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to strengthen their resolve to protect the rights of women in the wake of a landmark ruling in the US Supreme Court which, this week, overturned a woman’s Constitutional right to safely terminate pregnancies as part of her right to Privacy.

“The PNP Women’s Movement is adding our own dissenting voice to what is undeniably a massive blow to Women’s Rights in the USA. This development is sending ripples across the world, reminding us that women’s reproductive rights are still at risk despite how far we’ve come,” shared Patricia Duncan Sutherland, President of the PNP’s Women’s Movement. 

In 2019 the PNP Women’s Movement presented and ratified at its Annual Conference its support for amendments to be made to Sections 72 and 73 of the Offences Against the Person Act so that a woman’s unconditional right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy would be established and protected.

Duncan Sutherland noted that “Jamaican legislators have to show courage, they cannot continue to stall this process. The Government has an obligation to bring the Report of the Human Resource and Social Development Committee to Parliament for debate and voting.  The women of the People’s National Party continue to demonstrate readiness and resolve to support the decriminalization of abortion in Jamaica.

As recently as last month, MP Lisa Hanna tabled a motion in the House, restating her support for a woman’s right to choose. Similar expressions  of support were made during today’s meeting of the PNP’s National Executive  Council (NEC) by MP Angela Brown-Burke and former Senator Imani Duncan Price. There is even support across party lines which is rare. Let us put the consensus to good use!” She continued, “We have a record number of women in the House. This is a Women’s issue. There will be no better time than now for us to use the data and respond in a modern and rights-based manner to the needs of women who are turning to the black market to access unsafe abortions. While we fiddle with this issue, women are dying and suffering irreparable harm.”

Within the coming weeks, the Women’s Movement will actively engage stakeholders, including Parliamentarians to deepen real engagement and support for the amendments. “Since the 1800s our law on this issue has been the same. So much has changed since then and it is time the laws reflect the current realities, needs, and rights of modern citizens, in this case, our women,” said Duncan Sutherland.