Nicaragua Since Abortion Ban

Nicaragua Since Abortion Ban October 15, 2007

The Guardian of the U.K. recently published an article claiming 82 deaths from botched abortions since Nicaragua completely banned abortion.  Vox Nova was linked at another web site that is supportive of abortion rights on this issue.  As a general reminder, I should note that Vox Nova does not have corporate positions.  The views expressed on Vox Nova simply reflect the views of the authors of the individual pieces.  I think I am safe however in asserting that none of us are joyed at the deaths of these women.

Having said that, the article as near I can tell doesn’t bother sourcing its claim of 82 deaths outside of ‘advocacy groups’.  The article doesn’t really improve.  We are met with two anecdotes in the story.  One anecdote is of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy.  The other anecdote is of a woman with an unstated health condition that pregnancy will apparently aggravate.  That woman received a clandestine abortion and lived.  The first woman is told that no doctors will perform abortions for fear of the law.  (As a parenthetical note, in the wake of the Quindlin challenge, I should add that the law provides sentences for up to two years in prison for a woman who gets an abortion.  The abortionist would receive 3 to 5 years.)  The first woman thus chooses a couple women from her village to perform the abortion and ends up dead in the process.

Asked for our opinions on the matter, I will offer my own:

  • Where medical alternatives exist for the treatment of ectopic pregnancies, women need to be encouraged to seek those treatments.  I will leave aside the question of whether direct abortion can be sought in the matter of ectopic pregnancies.  I am of the negative opinion.  Regardless, the extension of Nicaragua’s ban to therapeutic abortions was done under the belief that treatments were available that meant there was no need for such abortions.  Having acted under such a belief, Nicaragua’s medical establishment should provide accordingly.
  • I do not find compelling the argument we need to legalize and make safe an operation because it is unsafe when done illegally.  If one believes such an operation should be legal, one should argue it be made legal on its own merits.
  • In as much as people do not see sex as belonging to marriage and procreation, they will see pregnancy as a condition rather than conditions with pregnancy.  If feminists put half the effort they put into making sure women can end their pregnancy into treating the conditions that can occur with pregnancy, we could significantly reduce the mortality rate from pregnancy.  Feminists should keep in mind that quite a number of women do see abortion as a death sentence, even if it saves their own life. 
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