(Jamaica Observer) Just over 90 per cent of adult Jamaicans surveyed hold the view that a foetus is a human being, a poll conducted by Don Anderson for a pro-life group has found.
The result of the poll, conducted in June this year, is likely to trigger passionate debate about an issue over which pro-choice and pro-life advocates have long argued.
Pro-choice advocates insist that a foetus cannot be considered human, while pro-life campaigners say the opposite, using images showing the unborn as young as seven weeks old with eyes, arms and legs to prove their point.
According to Anderson, when his researchers asked people to indicate the extent of their agreement to the statement ‘An unborn baby is a human being’ 83 per cent of respondents said they agreed strongly, nine per cent said they agreed somewhat, while those who disagreed strongly and disagreed somewhat were evenly split at 4 per cent.
“There was very little dissent on this issue,” said Anderson. Ninety-two per cent of all persons interviewed are convinced that the unborn child is a human being.”
Anderson said that a total of 535 persons between the ages of 18 and 65 years were questioned in the poll conducted for the Mustard Seed Communities between June 4 and 10. It has a margin of error of “plus or minus 4.5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level”.
Mustard Seed said it commissioned the poll in order to encourage public discussion in the lead-up to a debate in the Parliament before a Joint Select Committee that has been contemplating the report of the Abortion Policy Review Advisory Group (APRAG).
The APRAG was established in 2005 by former health minister John Junor with the aim of reducing what was said to be the high rate of maternal mortality in Jamaica.
But its recommendation that abortions be legalised has drawn fire from pro-life groups which argue that it is contrary to the law of God and militates against deeply held values in Jamaica.
Anderson, in giving a background to the survey, said that any decision on abortion needs to be informed by scientifically gathered data.