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Time to face the facts

In a very thought-provoking column on Sunday July 29, Jeff Cumberbatch correctly makes the point that there is need in the Caribbean Region for a “full, frank and objective” (my emphasis) discussion on “Abortion and the tween”. In the interest of clarity and based on his research “tween” refers to a girl nine to 14 years of age and I have taken the liberty of expanding this definition to embrace the period of pre-puberty to pre the age of consent i.e. nine to 15 years.

I make bold to say that sexual activity is present in this age group in every Caribbean country and that we as a people are either too embarrassed, too deep in denial or too self righteous to admit it.

The facts are there for all to see and are explicitly displayed in the region’s birth statistics as well as in records kept by medical and pharmaceutical professionals across the region.

The view that a discussion on this and other such issues might raise questions that we may prefer not to have answered must not be permitted to stand in the way of doing what is in the best interest of our children.

The time has surely come when reproductive health and rights advocates in collaboration with enlightened stakeholders give voice to the rights and needs of this region’s children who cannot speak for themselves on this issue since archaic laws give them no such voice.

The fact that in this enlightened 21st century Caribbean Dr. Lloyd Goldson, a reputable award-winning obstetrician, gynaecologist and humanitarian could be facing charges which bears a penalty of life imprisonment for doing what was in the best interest of a pregnant 12 year old child exposes the backwardness and immaturity of our systems, services and suitability for prime time.

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