The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston Lawrence Burke has come down heavily on Jamaica's attempts to legalize abortions. The Jamaican government had called for consultations on the matter and the consultation period if nearing its end.
It is thought that there will be certain liberal standards proposed on the delicate issue of abortions and naturally the Catholic Church is upset about this. "Prosecute the persons who do illegal abortions and shut them down. If a person wants an illegal abortion, it is public knowledge where they are done," said Archbishop Burke, "so prosecute those people and that will decrease the maternal mortality rate." In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Burke said that there was no need to change the laws. The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is in favor of amending the existing laws and claim that this can bring down the maternal mortality rate, which is fairly high in the island. In Jamaica, abortions are illegal, but a host of quacks and other "abortion" doctors carry on operating with impunity in unhygienic conditions.
The Roman Catholic Church opposes the use of contraceptives as well as forbids abortion. "The law practically allows abortion on demand, whether it threatens the mental health of the mother. It is not defined," Archbishop Burke says. But the government decided to take some action after it was reported that 16 per cent mortality deaths last year were from teenage pregnancies who took the step of abortion.