People

Danielle Toppin

RH Reality Check, Caribbean

Danielle Toppin writes from Jamaica. She has experience with gender and development, and will be covering reproductive health issues in the Caribbean and Latin America.


All Work

Jamaica’s Flawed Abortion Laws

Jamaica’s Flawed Abortion Laws

Danielle Toppin

Illegal abortions are one of the top ten causes of maternal death in Jamaica. Safe, legal abortions are only accessible to those who can afford one. Existing abortion "common law" in Jamaica is ambiguous and differs than legislation on the books. Jamaica is in the midst of a heated abortion debate.

Centralizing Stories

Centralizing Stories

Danielle Toppin

No matter how we feel about adolescent sexuality, the fact remains: real girls and boys are choosing to, or being forced to, enter into sexual relationships every day. The stories are numerous. We need to listen.

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

Danielle Toppin

Jamaica has put measures in place to support the Convention on the Rights of the Child and protect children from sexual abuse, but cultural issues must be addressed in addition to legal reform.

Becoming a Woman through Motherhood

Becoming a Woman through Motherhood

Danielle Toppin

Editor's Note: Today we welcome Danielle Toppin, writing from Jamaica. She has experience with gender and development, and will be covering reproductive health issues in the Caribbean and Latin America.


On November 4, 2004, I discovered that I was pregnant. In that moment, my life began to change. The ways in which I saw myself; and in which society perceived me shifted. It was as though I had finally fulfilled my role as a woman. I had proven my worthiness.

In the Caribbean context, ideas of motherhood are inextricably linked with ideas of womanhood. In Barbados, meanings are attached to fertile and infertile female bodies; with value being attached to those women who reproduce, and withheld from those women who, either by choice or by nature, do not. Mothering has become synonymous with "becoming a woman", achieving an almost mythical status as the natural path that women's lives should take.

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