Nicaragua Is the New South Dakota

The following story from the Boston Globe is not only alarming but sickening—offering further proof that public policy and religion ought not mix:

Nicaragua abortion ban called a threat to lives

Doctors and women’s groups are warning that Nicaragua’s ban on all abortions — even to save the mother — will endanger the lives of thousands of women every year.

With the new law, which imposes prison sentences of up to eight years for women and doctors , Nicaragua joins El Salvador and Chile as having the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in Latin America and among the toughest in the world.

In El Salvador, women who develop ectopic pregnancies — when a fertilized egg gets stuck in a fallopian tube, giving it no chance of survival — are kept under guard in a hospital. A prosecutor must certify that the embryo has died or the woman’s tube has ruptured before doctors can intervene.

In Chile, where abortion is punished with three to five years in prison, legislators last week rejected without debate a bill that would have permitted it in limited circumstances. Nevertheless, rich women go to private clinics where secret abortions are recorded as tumors or miscarriages while poor women obtain back-alley abortions, with an estimated 32,000 suffering serious injuries every year.

Abortion is criminalized throughout majority-Catholic Latin America, except in Cuba. Exceptions are made in most countries to save the mother’s life, a procedure known throughout the region as “therapeutic abortion.” Yet women in the region, who have poor access to contraception, have some of the highest rates of abortion in the world — with an estimated 3.9 million annually, or nearly one per woman over her lifetime.

According to the World Health Organization, South America is the continent with the highest rate of unsafe, clandestine abortions.

As many as 21 percent of maternal deaths in Latin America are associated with abortion, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a US-based research center on reproductive issues.

Colombia was the one Latin American country to liberalize its law earlier this year, allowing abortions in cases of danger to a woman’s life, rape, or severe fetal deformity — exceptions that are now being challenged by a group of abortion opponents.

In Nicaragua, Dr. Oscar Flores Mejía, of Nicaragua’s National Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the new law has sent fear and confusion through the medical community. He said many doctors understand the ban to mean they can do nothing “to interrupt pregnancy from the moment of conception until birth.”

That rules out operations to save women with ectopic pregnancies, eclampsia, cardiac problems, or other life-threatening complications if doctors could not guarantee that the fetus would survive, Flores said.

“This law is forcing us to be delinquent in our jobs,” he said. [full text]


3 thoughts on “Nicaragua Is the New South Dakota

  1. David, if pubic policy and religion shouldn’t mix, when should moral decisions be considered religious? Christians believe murder is a sin, but our public policy that makes murder illegal can’t be classified simply as religious. People can oppose abortion on a variety of grounds, not just religious ones. Conversely, many argue that it is immoral for our country not to establish public policy that works to end homelessness. Are Catholics advocating such mixing public policy and religion?

  2. The point, Mr RongRI, is that medical decisions should be made for medical reasons. Doctors should provide the appropriate care without having to worry about whether s/he is offending someone’s religious sensibilities.

    The ridiculous banning of medical marijuana is another such example. Study after study show that it works and it’s much less harmful than alternatives, and yet foggy “moral” principles get in the way of sound medical practice.

    Both of these are very, very different from your strawman about homelessness. Certainly, morals should infuse our public policy, but let’s be clear on what we’re discussing, and why.

    And, btw, John Paul II was an outspoken advocate of social justice, and he was vehemently opposed to the Iraq War. Love how “conservatives” pick and choose their values.

    But the point is that if you believe that abortion is wrong, don’t have one. But realize that the reasons you believe it’s wrong are based on your religious principles. And “…[c]ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

    Funny, the New Testament (and large chunks of the Old) are filled with invective against the wealthy and powerful. If you want a truly Christ-ian value, antipathy towards the rich is a Big One. So why doesn’t the obscene amassing of wealth offend more religious sensibilities?

  3. I think that the movie Fatal Attraction has shown that American men and women will accept abortion if the mother dies with the fetus. I knew a woman who was admitted into a psychiatric ward of a religiously run hospital that is vocal in its opposition of abortion when on this ward she was found out to be pregnant she was sent by her doctor with the approval of the adminstration to have an abortion. It is not abortion that is offensive to pro lifers and their institutions they will quickly force an abortion on a woman if it is to their best interests it is the fact that the WOMAN CHOOSES that is the offense.

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