Challenge abortion laws

By Miranda La Rose
Saturday, May 7 2016 – newsday.co.tt

AbortionIT WOULD be interesting, if on the issue of abortion, local lawyers were bold enough to challenge existing prohibitions against this to see if this ban may actually infringe upon an individual’s right to life and right to liberty, High Court Judge, Justice Frank Seepersad says.

Seepersad, who delivered the main address on Thursday at a conference on ‘Making of the Indian Constitution’, at the School of Education, University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, noted the laws in the famous United States case of Roe versus Wade (1973) had been challenged on the right to abortion, and the Supreme Court considered that abortion was a fundamental right.

It also found that abortion was included in the written guarantee of personal privacy.

“The question as to whether the State should be allowed, in this modern era, to legislate over a women’s right to be in charge of her womb and to criminalise decisions that she may make in relation to pregnancies must and has to be addressed,” Justice Seepersad said.

It may also be argued, Seepersad added, that decisions as to whether or not, a woman should be left to carry a child should be a personal decision, as pregnancy has a direct impact on her health and her life.

“While theologically-based views of morality can, should and must guide each individual’s decision as to his or her lifestyle choices,” he said that it should not be the focal point where the determination of national policies were undertaken, nor should it be the pivot on which the national agenda turns.

However, in the local jurisdiction, he said, “we are faced with the dilemma between Church and State and the fear of political fallout if the perceived wrong decision is made.” “Unofficially, Trinidad and Tobago has been referred to as a secular state,” he said, “but in reality it is the Christian ideology that has played a significant impact on the formation of our laws”, as Christianity from colonial times, was the dominant religion.

Speaking to India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act which was passed since 1981, he said it was recognised as a revolutionary piece of legislation that enabled a woman to have an abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy, under specified circumstances.

The act covered the very liberal rare circumstance of contraceptive failure, he said.

The judge said public discussion on abortion in TT, a country that claims to be secular, seems to be primarily premised on theological perspectives.

Source: http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,227447.html

3 Responses to “Challenge abortion laws”


  • There are several factors associated with abortion and the abortion debate. Moses introduced divorce not because it was the right thing to do but it was necessary due to the hardness of the human heart. Abortion falls along that line, it is not the right thing to do but…..
    The abortion laws in the US was borne out of necessity due to the high number of “back alley” abortions that put the life of the mother at risk. Today abortion is common as eating a burger, in some cases a teenager does not have to inform their parents.

    There are several reasons put forward for abortion (1)rape, (2) incest, (3)deform child. The main reason for abortion today that is being ignored is convenience. A young lady having a fling with her boyfriend just prior to going to university discovers that she is pregnant, what does she do, having the baby is inconvenient so she gets rid of it. The woman with her lover discovers she is pregnant what does she do? Get rid of it because it is inconvenient. The wife who already have 3 sons discovers she is pregnant what does she do? Get rid of it because it is inconvenient and not affordable.

    The facts are there personally I am anti abortion but like Moses I understand the hardness of the human heart. I would say provide counseling include options of adoption, family willing to raise the child etc, abortion cannot be the first response. If there is still a desire to get rid of this human life then that is where government legislation comes in. Government legislation must provide clear guidelines as to how late a pregnancy termination is acceptable. Then the person wanting the abortion must pay for it. It cannot be up to the tax payers to fund something that most people disagrees with as a matter of conscience. Unfortunately in the US with the government funding results in millions having been slaughtered. If someone have to pay for this service because there is a risk involved and it is money out of their pocket then they will seriously consider using contraceptive or doing the right thing by getting married and having children with the man in the child life.

    Having said all of that I know abortions are done in TNT, no one bothers, maybe that way is best, too much government control on personal lifestyle and choices in an unregulated industry. Or does it need to be regulated???

  • If you have money in Trinidad you can get an abortion no problems/issues. If you do not have money you are subject to the morality of the religious lobby; or men who seem to think they have some say in what a woman can or cannot do with their body.

    Spare me the faux bs intellectualism plz

    • We can’t use that argument to justify killing
      Babies. Contraceptives are reasonably price.
      State funding is ethically wrong. You pay for the service. Not my problem. As long as my tax dollars are not involved.

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