by Steven Ertelt
March 15, 2007
Kingston, Jamaica (LifeNews.com) — The reigning Miss Jamaica World 2006 is the latest beauty pageant queen to relinquish her crown after she refused to have an abortion. In January, the Miss USA pageant came under fire for forcing the winner of the New Jersey state contest to resign her crown because she’s pregnant and wouldn’t abort.
Sara Lawrence, the 22 year-old woman who became the island nation’s beauty queen says she is pregnant and expecting a baby in September. She issued a statement saying she’s keeping her baby instead of her crown.
"I relinquish my position as Miss Jamaica World 2006, having taken a deeply personal decision to face up to my responsibilities as one who expects to become a mother later this year," the Jamaica Gleaner reported.
"I believe that it is my moral obligation to do what I believe to be ethically correct and will follow what I believe to be right" Lawrence added.
The young woman told the newspaper her boyfriend supports her decision to keep the baby and not have an abortion. Though abortion advocates frequently say otherwise, she said she would have no problem continuing to pursue a career and raising her child at the same time.
"I will continue pursuing a career in medicine after the birth of my baby," Lawrence, who is 12 weeks pregnant, said.
Lawrence has already performed in the 2006 Miss World contest, and Miss Jamaica World franchise holder, Mickey Haughton-James, told the newspaper she is a "fabulous young woman who did Jamaica proud."
Still, she said keeping her crown and carrying the baby to term were incompatible, implying that an abortion would let her continue her reign.
"Sara’s role in all of this cannot be ignored; her actions could potentially harm the tradition that is the Miss Jamaica World pageant and past and future winners," Haughton-James said.
The Gleaner also reports that Lawrence’s parents, Steve and Beverly Lawrence, have given her their unqualified support.
"As parents our responsibility will remain to provide support and assist her with guidance and understanding through this difficult time," they said.
In January, Ashley Harder, Miss New Jersey USA, said she had to step down because the rules of the contest forbid pregnant women from competing. Her resignation forced her to not compete for the Miss USA title this month.
Harder defended her pregnancy and decision to not have an abortion and said that having a baby shouldn’t be viewed so negatively.
"This isn’t another scandal. This is a baby; this is a life," Harder told the newspaper. And she said being a mom "is a title I have always wanted and will always cherish."
Lawrence won the country’s crown last year — beating 14 other contestants and she placed int he top six of 104 women in the Miss World pageant.
Because she stepped down, she will not be entitled to crown the 2007 pageant winner and that role may go to Terri-Karelle Griffith, who won the contest in 2005.