Gynaecological & Obstetrical Society wants review of abortion law

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 00:00

The Gynaecological & Obstetrical Society is calling for a review of the country's abortion law.

The Society says that the law as it stands, causes physical and mental harm to women.

The following is a statement from the Society:

"Following a meeting of the Gynaecological & Obstetrical Society on 30th April 2016, it was agreed that urgent review of the current Trinidad & Tobago law regarding termination of pregnancy is essential.

The current law in Trinidad & Tobago, which makes it unlawful for termination of pregnancy for anything other than a direct threat to the woman’s life, does not allow safe choice for women and instead causes physical and mental harm to women. The Offences against the Person Act Chapter 11:08 (sections 56 and 57) regarding termination of pregnancy in T&T is taken from the UK Offences against the Person Act of 1861.

GOSTT knows of no other jurisdiction in the region that utilizes un-reformed termination of pregnancy law that is over 150 years old.

The reality is that women in T&T are requesting termination of pregnancy, for many indications including severe fetal abnormalities. Gynaecologists & Obstetricians in T&T are witness to both these requests for termination of pregnancy and also the medical complications that often occur after women have attempted to terminate their pregnancy on their own or had unsafe procedures performed.

Unsafe termination of pregnancy leads to many short term and long term complications including infection, haemorrhage, infertility, sexual dysfunction, mental health issues and on rare occasions death.

GOSTT respects womens’ rights concerning their sexual and reproductive health and is committed to the service of women to enhance the attainment of safe motherhood by eliminating the complications and deaths associated with unsafe termination of pregnancy.

GOSTT has therefore started the debate on how T&T can modernize the law regarding termination of pregnancy. GOSTT is convening a committee to advise on a legislative framework to allow safe access to termination of pregnancy and calls on all stakeholders to urgently debate the issue."