NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Health Dr Michael Darville yesterday declined to share the Davis administration’s stance on elective abortion and did not provide his views, but said he believes once the public understands the science, “key decisions could be made in terms of policy”.
He suggested there could be a symposium in the future as the government is aware of the issues surrounding abortion and gender-based violence in The Bahamas, but he could not commit to a time frame.
At this particular time, I cannot indicate what the Cabinet’s position is on it. But there [have] been some discussions, and I leave it like that.
– Minister of Health & Wellness Dr Michael Darville
Responding to questions on the decriminalization of abortion in The Bahamas, the minister said it is an issue that needs to be brought to Cabinet, and one that many countries around the world struggle with.
“As far as our position, that has not been finalized, but we are aware of the challenges are a result of violence against women,” Darville said.
“We are aware of the challenges of abortions. All of these things are issues that affect our society and the Davis administration intends to confront these issues.
“But at this particular time, I cannot indicate what the Cabinet’s position is on it.
“But there [have] been some discussions, and I leave it like that.”
According to the Penal Code, anyone who is found to have intentionally and unlawfully caused an abortion or miscarriage shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years.
Asked about his own position on abortion, Darville said it is a “complex one”.
But he said he did not wish to discuss it at this time as there “are so many different dimensions”.
“Maybe one day we will have a symposium because there is illegal abortion, clinical abortion [and] there are abortions that are tied in with the possible death of the mother,” the minister said.
“These are sometimes tough decisions that need to be made, and so, when we look at it just by the name itself in the medical arena, there are many different areas where tough decisions need to be made.
“But me, personally, I withhold my position at this particular time because I do have a strong position and when we come together as a Cabinet and finalize the positions, everyone will have to do it based on their own conscious.”
Darville said for many doctors, particularly those who specialize in gross abnormalities in children and the potential risk to a mother, there is a “decision that needs to be made”.