Opinion: A matter of faith

POSTED: 08/31/11 1:05 PM

That the United Ministerial Foundation opposes legalized abortion, euthanasia, and prostitution is to be expected. The position is based on ideology, or on faith, if you want, and does not take practical consequences into account.
This is not to say that the churches should change their opinion. We know where we stand with Pastor Wycliffe Smith and Prophet Edwin Arrindell, and that’s okay.
It remains however disappointing that the churches do not condone abortion and euthanasia under any circumstances. That is where the churches, in our opinion, lose touch with reality.
St. Maarten is still a long way away from legalizing abortion, euthanasia and prostitution. Contrary to what the churches state in their opinion, the idea to legalize has not come down on us from the Netherlands. The proposal is home made, and introduced in the Parliament by our won Justice Minister Roland Duncan.
The Minister has made his own position clear, but it is now up to the Parliament to take a decision. The fifteen-seat Parliament is divided: when we did the rounds of MPs after Minister Duncan made his intentions public in June, today polled parliamentarians in early July. Out of the ten MPs we reached, three favored legalization, three opposed it and four declined to comment.
With just three proponents so far, and four not immediately in favor, legalization stands on shaky grounds, and that’s okay. Though we think that legalizing practices that happen anyway makes more sense than playing ostrich and pretending to choose the moral high ground, it is entirely up to the Parliament to decide about these matters.
But if the Parliament declines to legalize, what action will it then take to battle illegal abortion? What will Parliament do to battle prostitution? How will Parliament get a grip on shady assisted suicide?
It remains a fact that legalized abortion offers safeguards, not only to medical professionals who do “the procedure” as MP Ruth Douglas prefers to name it, but most certainly also to the girls and women who find themselves in the unfortunate position where they have to go through an abortion.
The churches will no doubt argue that nobody has to go through an abortion. But what about rape victims? What about girls of twelve to fifteen or, God forbid, even younger? What about young women who are in no position to take care of a child?
There are plenty of social and medical reasons that justify abortion. The same goes obviously for euthanasia: assisted suicide for people who suffer from an incurable disease, who suffer tremendously and who have zero perspective for recovery.
In a democracy it is the right thing to respect each others’ opinion. But when this debate goes down the wire, parliamentarians have only two options. The first choice is to be realistic – and legalize all three. The second option is to be hypocritical – make all three illegal and then pretend for the rest of their lives that no abortions or assisted suicides take place and that there are no brothels, no prostitutes and no clients for these establishments on the island.

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