A new document released by the Wikileaks web site shows the Bush administration lent its support to Nicaragua in its push for a ban on all abortions. The nation already banned most abortions and pushed to prevent them all.
The cable concerned a meeting HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt had with President Daniel Ortega when Leavitt visited the central American nation on March 26 and 27, 2007. The cable was classified at the time and written by Ambassador Trivelli.
“Secretary Leavitt met with President Daniel Ortega shortly after arriving. In a tour d’horizon centered upon the health sector, Ortega explained that Nicaragua needs help in almost all areas. After the meeting with Ortega, Secretary Leavitt attended a dinner hosted by the Ambassador for opposition leaders,” the cable says.
The cable backs up reporting from LifeNews in April 2007, in which this news agency reported the Bush administration and European nations sparred over language in a World Bank document outlining health strategies for poor nations. The countries were upset that an American representative tried to insert language into the document that they say would limit abortions for teenagers. The battle pitted diplomats from France, Germany, Italy and Norway against the U.S. representative, Whitney Debevoise, during a discussion of the document.
The World Bank had come under fire from pro-life advocates for years for trying to push abortion on poor nations, most of whom have laws respecting the right to life of unborn children and had paid for ads in places like Nicaragua saying that abortion must be legalized or women will die. The ad came in response to efforts from the Nicaragua legislature to strengthen the nation’s pro-life law.
According to the cable, “Ortega noted that he was getting considerable pressure from Europe on Nicaragua’s recent ban of therapeutic abortion, although ‘no doctor would be prosecuted for saving the life of a patient.’ Secretary Leavitt offered Ortega the Administration’s full support for the Nicaraguan pro-life position, and thanked the President for his country’s stand on life and family issues at home and at United Nations fora.”
During the tour, Ortega told Leavitt that, instead of abortion, Nicaragua needs better health care and medical care for its residents.
“In a very lengthy tour d’horizon centered upon the health sector, Ortega explained that Nicaragua needs help in almost all areas of health care,” the document noted. “He lamented that the country lacks hospitals, equipment, doctors, nurses, and medication, and impoverished citizens suffer from malnutrition and a lack of potable water. To strengthen the immune systems of children, the Government wants to establish school feeding programs. In addition, the Government wants to import generic drugs, but has no way to test them for quality, about which the President expressed concern.”
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the former president of Human Life International, noted in 2008 that maternal deaths dropped after Nicaragua approved the abortion ban.
“That marvelous little pro-life country in Central America is a good example of what happens when a country chooses a culture of life,” he noted. “Remember that Nicaragua made abortion completely illegal in 2006 and then reaffirmed that prohibition in 2007. The overall positive results for Nicaraguan women have been just amazing. The abortion promoters screamed that making abortion illegal would cause women to die in droves because of more back-alley abortions, but that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite is true – fewer women are dying now.”
“A recent publication by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health noted that the overall maternal mortality rate decreased by 58% in the year that abortion has been made totally illegal. There were 21 maternal deaths for 2007 compared to 50 maternal deaths the year before. This is a stunning reversal,” Euteneuer explained. “The lie that women will die from back-alley, “unsafe,” abortions is nothing but a scare tactic to coerce pro-life cultures into compliance with abortion. The truth is that abortion-free cultures have a greater respect for women and babies and are not subject to that degrading pall of killing that lies over the medical profession.”
“In the case of Nicaragua, their rejection of abortion in 2006/2007 coincided – not surprisingly – with a greater provision of basic pre-natal services for pregnant women and accompaniment in childbirth which is what led to the surprising turn-around in the maternal death rate. Even aside from legal protection of babies, pro-life cultures just protect women better, it’s that simple,” he said.
That coincides with the support from the Bush administration and the desire on Ortega’s part to improve the nation’s medical care.