No abortion for me - Malahoo Forte shows her hand amid pro-choice debate

June 08, 2023

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte says she will not support calls for the legalisation of abortion in Jamaica.

Malahoo Forte, a senior member of the Andrew Holness-led Government, said she has taken the position based on a story her mother told her.

"I say to people that changing the law for abortion will never be my platform, for the simple reason that my mother told me that when she was pregnant with me, at every stage of her pregnancy she was told to abort me, every stage," Malahoo Forte said.

The minister, who is in charge of leading the review and possible overhaul of Jamaica's constitutional architecture, to include the fundamental rights which people should enjoy, said her life and that of her mother were on the line, and her mother resisted suggestions to do an abortion.

"She was told that if she didn't abort me she would die, or I would die, or we would be ill. I, in honour of my mother, and respect for my own life, take a certain position," Malahoo Forte said.

"I understand that others may do otherwise. I'm just saying, me, from my own history, my own narrative, the circumstances around my own life, the abortion issue is not mine."

In 2018, Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, who, like Malahoo Forte, is a member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, brought a motion to Parliament calling on her colleagues to change the abortion laws in Jamaica. Lisa Hanna, an opposition lawmaker, has also tabled a motion in the House, restating her support for a woman's right to choose what happens to her body.

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