Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pro-People / Pro-Life

There have been alot of questions asked and innuendoes thrown the way of Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the People's Partnership in recent weeks regarding its stand on the Abortion issue. The Abortion Issue has never before factored in a General election here in Trinidad & Tobago and the mere fact that it has suddenly risen up on thelandscape could well be a reflection of just how 'americanized' our politicking has become in the past few years.

Abortion is and remains an illegal act under the legal code in Trinidad & Tobago. The punishment for a woman who has an abortion is 4 years in prison and the punishment for a doctor or other person who performs the procedure is the same. Aiding in the process of finding someone to perform an abortion or other preliminary steps is also illegal and subject to a 2 year prison sentence.

Access to this procedure is not a national issue as we have been spared the challenges of Roe v Wade, the emergence of a Feminist Movement, and the rise and fall of the accursed 'Abortion Clinic' in our sleepy twin republic. One 2007 survey did however indicate that about half of the Trinidadian population were in favor of increased legal access to abortion - and this perhaps is the genesis of this suden interest.

Similarly perhaps is the news that the Draft Constitution calls for a total outlawing of abortion spearheaded it would appear by religious interest groups and vehemently opposed by a group known as ASPIRE (see website here: ) ASPIRE seeks to expand the current exceptions in the legislation which among other things allow for abortion in cases where the mother's life is endangered.,43838.html

Statistics on abortions in T&T are incomplete at best. And are estimated to be between 10 and 20,000 per year. ASPIRE estimate that of this number some 4,000 are 'botched' procedures that end up in secondary medical care. So this is most likely where interest in this issue is being driven from in 2010.

ASPIRE, the Draft Constitution, and the question of access to safe, hygenic medical care aside, the PNM has repeatedly raised the issue on the platform this Election, and although the People's Partnership has repeated refuted that they have any intention to change the law as it pertains to this delicate subject, I watched the Works Minister, Colm Imbert raise it once again just last night (May 18) at a political meeting in DIego Martin.

Just in case you are not aware, the People's Partnership has declared publicly that it is decidedly PRO-LIFE. The following Q&A between a supporter and one of the PP's leading legal minds Timothy Hamel-Smith best illustrates:

From: "Alan Harford"

Date: Sat, 15 May 2010 17:25:11 -0400

To: Timothy Hamel-Smith

Subject: UNC/Cop Partnership

Dear Timmy,

There are a lot of people asking what is the partnerships position on abortion. The parties need to make an unequivocal statement as this is loosing some support as we don't know what they are going to do.Please get them to say something definite.

God Bless


From: timothy hamel-smith

Date: 5/15/2010 7:44:48 PM
Winston Dookeran; Prakash Ramadhar
Subject: Re: UNC/Cop Partnership

The People's Partnership has no intention of changing the present law of T+T which prohibits abortions.

The People's Partnership in its Manifesto have categorically stated that in Taking Health Care to the People it will take care of them "From Conception to Exit" . We consider that it is our sacred duty to protect life.

The attempt by Colm Imbert to bring up the issue is merely a distraction to try and steer away from the real issues of crime. We believe that it is the sacred duty of every Government to protect the lives of our People. The PNM have failed miserably in that regard- in our view the lives of the unborn have equal importance as those as each of us. The PNM, whatever they may say, and remember by their fruits you shall know them, have no real respect for human life treating victims of murder as mere statistics and collateral damage.

The People's Partnership will not be sucked into this PNM ruse to escape the real issue of crime which impacts on the life of everyone.

There probably are women in all the parties, the PNM included, who favour abortion and because we have a female Leader the PNM believe they can run an underground smear campaign on this non-issue. This attempt to introduce the abortion question is a PNM inspired fear tactic that has no truth in it whatsoever.

Making this into a national issue will play right into the hands of ASPIRE who would like to make this non-issue a debating point on the hustings.

I am one of the leaders of the Public Policy Program who developed our Manifesto and I assure you that there has been absolutely no attempt to introduce support for abortion. Indeed I have let it be known that I would resign if abortion was a policy to be promoted.
I hope that Christians and members of other religions will not fall for these disingenuous dirty tricks of the PNM. You can expect that desperation will drive them to pursue many fear tactics. Do not believe any of them least of all any on the abortion issue.

The dictatorial tendencies of Mr Manning are coming to the fore as he has commandeered all TV stations to broadcast free of charge interviews and addresses which he proposes to make for 3 hours over 3 separate occasions. Do not be fooled by PNM propaganda which they will try to pursue by underground rumours of lies and half-truths.

We believe we have a sacred duty to protect all life from conception to exit - that is our promise and covenant with the People



So spread the word: the People's Partnership is Pro-People and Pro-Life!

PS In a ironic twist, it would appear that PNM Candidate for Port of Spain North / St Anns West, Patricia McIntosh was recently awarded as ASPIRE's educator of the year - a development that no doubt aligns her with the issue on the side of the PRO-ABORTION movement in T&T. One wonders how long it will be before Colm Inbert publicly calls on Mrs McIntosh to publicly state her position on this most volatile and divisive issue.

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