by Steven Ertelt
October 26, 2006
Managua, Nicaragua (LifeNews.com) — The national legislature in Nicaragua is expected to approve a measure today that would prohibit abortions in all circumstances. It would make the country’s abortion law stronger than other pro-life nations in South America and put it on par with 34 nations that make abortions always illegal.
Unlike pro-life laws in the United States, the measure would also put in place prison sentences for women, who are normally considered a second victim in an abortion.
The bill would mandate sentences of six to 30 years in prison for women who undergo an abortion and for anyone who does an abortion.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, the main political parties in Nicaragua support the legislation and Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos last week sent the measure to the legislature.
Current law there prohibits most abortions but allows them in cases of rape or incest and when the mother’s life is directly at risk from the pregnancy.
Should the legislature approved the abortion ban, the Women’s Autonomous Movement of Nicaragua, a pro-abortion group, plans to file a legal challenge to it.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas division for the pro-abortion Human Rights Watch, told the Times such a lawsuit could wind up before the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights, whose authority Nicaragua has accepted.
Rafael Cabrera, an obstetrician and leader of the Yes to Life Movement, told the newspaper El Nuevo Diario, that "The current law allows a small door in which abortions can be performed, and we are trying to close that door."
"We don’t believe a child should be destroyed under the pretext that a woman might die," he said.
Abortion advocates say only 24 legal abortions have been done in the nation in the last three years and claim that more than 32,000 illegal ones are done each year.
Nicaragua has a history of pro-life activism and it led a coalition of pro-life nations in August to object to ambiguous language that could be interpreted as providing for an international right to abortion.
Nicaragua led a group of 23 nations in objecting to including “sexual and reproductive health services” in the document saying it was vague and undefined and could be used to promote abortion in pro-life nations.
The nations eventually won a limited victory.