The Tribune investigation that revealed the sale of abortion pills without prescription has, inevitably, prompted calls for abortion laws to be changed.
There are of course two separate issues here – the first is whether pharmacists are selling the pills unlawfully (and if they are selling those without prescription what else is being sold?).
The law is the law has been a common refrain from government in recent times on issues of immigration – well, the law doesn’t stop being the law when it moves on to other issues. If the law is being broken through the sale of medicines without prescription, then it should be enforced.
The second issue surrounds the abortion laws themselves. Abortion too is illegal, and part of the call for change is that people will still access abortion through different means.
As advocate Alicia Wallace says in today’s story in The Tribune, “People know which doctors, which pills they can use and there are myths, old wives tales that people cling to to induce abortions for themselves using various types of vitamins, supplements and bush medicines.”
There are horror stories to be told in all of this, including people injuring themselves or using coat hangers to bring about an abortion.
Again, though, as hard as it may be to consider, the law is the law. The doctors that people know to go to are breaking it, the people peddling the pills and bush medicines know it’s illegal and in almost all circumstances we imagine those seeking the abortion know they are going against the law of the country.
The law is not something to just find a way around. You don’t sneak through the back door of a clinic if you think something is lawful, that’s what the front door is for.
And the law being the agreed-upon rules for our society as a whole, people cannot just pick and choose which laws they follow.
Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has called the abortion issue “political kryptonite” and he’s right – if people think the church marches against the legalising of the number shops were large, just wait and see the church marches against abortion.
Moreover, tackling the abortion issue skips right on past prevention when there is so much that can be done to stop becoming pregnant in the first place.
We agree with Ms Wallace that such measures – access to contraceptives, even free of charge for those below the poverty line – need to be considered. Education too has to be a focus.
But the abortion debate is one that will encounter strong opposition – indeed, even having it might make it harder to implement improved access to contraception in what is sure to be a heated debate.
That debate is, however, the second issue. For now, those five words remain. The law is the law. It’s up to enforcers now to uphold it.
Watch out, and be safe
A spate of home invasions has prompted the Bahamas Police Force to offer homeowners advice on how to avoid becoming a target.
Whatever the reasons for this recent run of crimes - perhaps criminals looking to plunder after the Christmas season, perhaps just coincidence that there are a few so close in time together - it pays to take a look around and see if your home and surroundings are secure.
The police have not said if the incidents are linked, so hopefully they might be isolated - but still, safety first. To the advice given by Superintendent Shanta Knowles, we would add to keep a watch on your neighbours for their security - and if dropping off someone at their home, wait around while they get safely inside.
A little extra watchfulness for those around us is no bad thing at the best of times - and if it helps to prevent further crimes, it lets the police concentrate on catching the culprits of these raids.
So listen to the advice, look to your surroundings - and do your part to help prevent crime.