Deacon Peter Espeut has described abortion, whether safe or unsafe, as murder and has asserted that no woman should be given that right.
He was commenting on a recent survey finding that 42 per cent of persons polled agreed that women should have the right to safe abortion services. Thirty-two per cent strongly agreed, 15 per cent disagreed, and six per cent strongly disagreed. The other five per cent were not certain of their position on the matter.
The all-island poll, titled 'A Woman's Right to Choose', was conducted by Johnson Survey Research Limited from April 27-29, with 1,000 Jamaican males and females, aged 15 to 49, participating.
"Where did that right come from?" challenged Espeut in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not mention such rights, and the Jamaican Constitution does not confirm that right. I would say no, they do not have a right to abortion, safe or unsafe. Abortion is against the law. It is murder!" he stated.
Arguing from a biological viewpoint, Espeut explained that foetuses are humans, too.
"Human beings have 46 chromosomes. A foetus growing in a woman's womb has 46 chromosomes and has to be considered a human being. Therefore, it has a right to life. Not even the woman has the right to take that life," he reasoned.
In cases where a woman becomes pregnant from rape, Espeut suggested that they birth the baby then put him or her up for adoption.
"There is no right to abortion. You can allow abortion under certain circumstances, but you cannot call it a right," the Roman Catholic deacon said emphatically. "A right is a strong thing. Must women give birth to a child from a rape situation? I say that if she doesn't want the child, she should still have the child, then give it up for adoption. The right to life comes first!" he declared.