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.
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.
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.
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]