Doctor on trial for allegedly performing abortion on 12-year-old
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday July 18, 2012 – A prominent Kingston-based consultant, who allegedly performed an abortion on a pregnant 12-year-old, will appear in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court today to answer charges of procuring abortion and administering drugs to procure abortion. If found guilty, he could face life imprisonment.
Obstetrician and gynaecologist Lloyd Goldson is said to have performed the abortion on July 4. The girl's 32-year-old mother has also been charged.
The 12-year-old girl was reportedly four months pregnant when her mother took her to Goldson's practice. Goldson is said to have performed the procedure himself.
Goldson and the girl’s mother were arrested on Wednesday under suspicion of procuring abortion by detectives from the Jamaican Constabulary's centre for the investigation of sexual offences and child abuse.
The 32-year-old woman has also been charged with cruelty to a child and failure to make a report to the Children's Registry, police said.
Goldson was honoured in 2009 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for "outstanding and distinguished work in the field of women's health".
A woman who answered the phone at Goldson's practice on Friday said the doctor had been released on bail and was planning to return to the clinic that afternoon. When asked if abortions had been performed at the clinic before, she reportedly said she "wouldn't know anything about that".
It has been argued that Jamaica should legalize abortion up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. But religious groups in the predominantly Christian country counter that abortion is morally wrong.
Jamaica's Offences Against the Person Act makes it illegal for a pregnant person to attempt to procure an abortion and for a doctor, or anyone else, to perform the procedure. Breaking the law is punishable by life in prison.
In 2005 the Abortion Policy Review Advisory Group was set up by Jamaica's health ministry to examine the impact of the country's abortion laws. The group found that most of the women seeking illegal abortions in Jamaica were "young, poor, unemployed and live in economically and socially deprived communities".
The group recommended that abortion be legalized under certain conditions in the country, but the legislation has remained unchanged.