The great Jamaican American abortion debate

The New York Times today is carrying an incredibly long (9 pages, no less) piece on the US debate on contraception and abortion.

What is striking for Jamaican readers is how many of the arguments advanced by the anti-abortion party for banning abortion (legal since 1967) in the U.S. have long been disproved by the Jamaican experience.

Banning abortion will improve respect for human life ? Um, no. Check our murder rate.

Banning abortion (and/or contraception) will boost respect for religious values? Um, no. Check our multitude of churches, (supposedly more churches per square mile than in any other country). Almost as many churches as murders. Both have grown precipitously over the past 30 years.

Banning abortion (and/or contraception) will bolster marriage and male/female relationships. Um, no. Where to start ??!!! Check our marriage rate (about 15 %), check the number of out-of-wedlock babies (85% last year), check the number of murders of women by their male partners , and well, just listen to our music to hear the mutual contempt and disrespect among Jamaican men and women……

Even the unspoken agenda of many conservative Republicans (role women out of the workplace and back into the home full-time by banning abortion and contraception) is disproved by Jamaican women who have gone right on going to university (more than 70% female enrollment at last count) and into management positions in the workplace (more than 70% white collar managers in Jamaica are female) despite being single mothers to one, two, three children……..

We don't have legal abortion in Jamaica.
We've never had legal abortion in Jamaica.

However, this year the Medical Association of Jamaica is going to attempt to have a law legalizing abortion passed in Jamaica. We've already heard from Archbishop "Lock-up-the-abortionists" Burke.


"Is There a Solution to the Catholic Debate on Contraception?" (Jim Arraj)

We've also heard from our finger-on-the-pulse columnist Mark Wignall – he advocates that the anti-abortionists guarantee to take all unwanted children from their mothers at birth.


"Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States" (Rickie Solinger)

Here the Archbishop has the advantage of Mark Wignall since local Catholic charities like Mustard Seed do just that – within the limits of their funding.

But after comparing the US vs the Jamaican experience, the stark reality is that there is only one current analysis that satisfactorily explains present day Jamaica: our apparent disregard for human life (the murder rate) AND our rampant Christianity (churches on every corner, no legal abortion).

That analysis is contained in the popular and controversial book "Freakonomics" which suggests that falling crime rates in the U.S. are a consequence of low-income women choosing to have abortions instead of having babies they don't want and can't take care of…. This has reduced the supply of young males who were never wanted, and then never received the love, education and opportunity they needed to make good in America – they are the boys that make up the vast majority of offenders in the U.S. These boys were never born and hence they never grew up to become criminals.


"Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" (Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner)

Do you get the connection ? In Jamaica, poor women get pregnant and they have babies – whether or not the mother or the baby father has any means of feeding, much less educating the babies. Hmmm.

So the fact that we don't have legal abortion could explain our horrendous murder rate ???
Seems entirely possible to me.

And Archbishop Burke hopes to save the lives of unborn babies, but it may be at the cost of the lives of thousands of adult Jamaicans – witness those who have been murdered over the past ten, twenty, thirty years – most of them male, most of them young…….

[posted with ecto]

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4 thoughts on “The great Jamaican American abortion debate

  1. abortion should be made legal because women have the right to determine whether or not they want to bring the life of their child to this inhumane world we are living in. if forced to bring a child into the world the child may be abused all his life and may never know what it fells like to be loved. this child may grow up to trat others the same way he was treated or suffer severe trauma. the child may grow up lonely and then who will be the ones to be blamed? the government of course. they would have been the ones who forced a child or woman to have a child she did plan for or want.

  2. abortion should be made legal because women have the right to determine whether or not they want to bring the life of their child to this inhumane world we are living in. if forced to bring a child into the world the child may be abused all his life and may never know what it fells like to be loved. this child may grow up to trat others the same way he was treated or suffer severe trauma. the child may grow up lonely and then who will be the ones to be blamed? the government of course. they would have been the ones who forced a child or woman to have a child she did plan for or want.

  3. how in the world can human beigns think that legalising abortion lowers the crime rate? that is total stupidness. the solution to preventing having unwanted children is simple- abstain. don’t have sex in the first place. abortion is murder and comitting murder is a sin in the eyes of god. how will you explain yourself on judgement day when you face god and possibly the same child that you killed.

  4. how in the world can human beigns think that legalising abortion lowers the crime rate? that is total stupidness. the solution to preventing having unwanted children is simple- abstain. don’t have sex in the first place. abortion is murder and comitting murder is a sin in the eyes of god. how will you explain yourself on judgement day when you face god and possibly the same child that you killed.

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