Jamaica Under Pressure: A Caribbean nation faces mounting demands by international actors to change its abortion laws

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from C-FAM,

The issue of abortion has risen to greater prominence in Jamaican politics recently for several reasons. According to Reuters, “Debate over the 157-year-old ban has been reignited on the island following Argentina’s landmark December decision to legalise abortion and U.S. President Joe Biden’s order to restore billions in funding for abortion services worldwide.” But prior to those events, Jamaican lawmaker and former Olympic sprinter Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn introduced a motion to repeal the relevant sections of the Offenses Against the Person Act in 2018. While the motion failed to receive a vote during that parliamentary session, Cuthbert-Flynn is working on a new policy to present to Parliament in the future.

Although Jamaica is an island, it is subject to intense pressure from outside as well as within to liberalize its longstanding pro-life laws, and the level of pressure is affected by the status of the abortion debate elsewhere in the world.

In January 2021, a report co-funded by the European Union titled “Coming to Terms: The Social Costs of Unequal Access to Safe Abortions” was launched by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI).

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