Abortion debate hijacked

Opinion - by Marlene Nahon Hassan, MP

It is with regret and sadness that I now see that the abortion debate, an important and seminal moment in the development of our community, has been hijacked as the latest arena for the political class to flex their muscles with.

Just under a year ago I became, and to this day, still am, the only Member of Parliament to give a clear indication of where I stood on the debate. Members of the public may have agreed or disagreed with me, but at least they knew where I stood all along.

Meanwhile, the two main parties in our Parliament, paralysed by the fear of public disapproval, have hidden behind legal walls. The only pronouncements they have made have been arguments on the applicability of a Supreme Court judgment.

The public is calling for leadership and guidance on this issue. All we've seen from the GSLP Liberals and the GSD has been political maneuvering.

I am particularly SHOCKED to see the GSD suggest there has been no public debate on the matter. Where on earth have they been over the last year? Did they not watch GBC's 90minute special at Leisure cinemas? Have they not followed the incredibly powerful public movements on social media and in our streets?

With a Government Command Paper out on the subject since last month, I will be providing my views as part of an attempt to be constructive and to engage positively in that process to make our future law better and fit for purpose. I urge the Government and the Opposition to approach this part of the debate maturely too. I don't think we want to see any more in fighting between them on this sensitive matter.

The GSLP Liberals and the GSD have painfully got themselves over the hurdle into a position where they admit that they accept we need to have an abortion law. The GSD now owe the electorate some honesty about the fact that they have acknowledged this and stop pandering to both sides of the debate by pretending to be on the pro-life side one minute, and on the pro-choice side another.

The time has come to leave aside petty political games and deliver a serious and proper debate. I am ready for it. I hope my fellow political leaders are ready too.