‘We can decide abortion path,’ says Le Tocq
A REVIEW into the island’s abortion law has been welcomed by a senior politician, but he does not think that Guernsey needs to copy or follow the UK legislation.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq believes abortion should be illegal except in certain circumstances, such as rape, incest, or when the life or health of the mother is at risk.
He said his stance is strongly influenced by the fact that he was adopted as a baby: ‘I was adopted aged 11 days by a couple in their early 50s who were unable to have children due in part to the lack of medical provision during the German Occupation.
‘They were the best parents I could ever have wished for and I know adopting me transformed their lives.
‘Pastorally I have met many who would love to adopt for similar reasons but there are very few babies to adopt today for obvious reasons.
‘From the little I do know about my entrance into this world, I was born in Guernsey to an under-age mum in 1964. Had abortion been legal and easily available then I most likely would not be responding to your questions now.’
The Health & Social Care committee revealed last month that it would be carrying out a review into the island’s gestational limits on abortion to see whether they should be brought into line with the UK.
Guernsey has an abortion legal limit of up to 12 weeks, or 24 weeks if severe foetal abnormalities are detected.
In the UK the time limit for terminations is set at 24 weeks, but they can be carried out after 24 weeks in certain circumstances – for example, if the child would be born with a severe disability.
Deputy Le Tocq said the matter should be researched as widely as possible before making a decision relevant to Guernsey and that the issue should not be looked at in isolation.
‘It is in the West and in Europe in particular that the so-called “demographic time-bomb” of a growing ageing population with fewer in the younger generation to fill the jobs and pay the taxes has demonstrated what I believe is one of the major negative impacts of the post-war abortion generation.’
Pro-choice campaigners argue that women should be given the right to choose if, when, and with whom to start a family.
Deputy Le Tocq said there was a wider context to that argument.
‘At what point do we grant a foetus such human rights? At 22 weeks? At 12 weeks? At conception? At birth?’
Deputy Le Tocq is also an ordained Christian minister, but he does not feel conflicted by his political and church roles. ‘Neutrality is a myth; we all have presuppositions, be they faith-based or culture-based or upbringing, philosophy, worldview.’
HSC has outlined that there will be full consultation with public meetings before any proposed law reforms are brought before the States later this year.