by Steven Ertelt
November 17, 2006
Managua, Nicaragua (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in the Central American nation of Nicaragua are expected to file a legal challenge to a new abortion ban the country’s national legislature adopted prohibiting abortions in all circumstances. President Enrique Bolanos has not yet signed the law but if he does, pro-abortion groups will challenge it in court.
Bolanos, a conservative whose term ends in January, plans to sign the law, a spokesperson said.
The New York-based Americas for Human Rights Watch is one of several pro-abortion groups in the United States that have been interfering with Central and South American nations on the issue of abortion.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, the director of the group, says the abortion ban violates the right to life and equality of women.
"The new penal code doesn’t just go against basic human rights: It goes against fundamental principles of humanity," he told the pro-abortion Women’s eNews web site.
The site reports that abortion advocates are preparing to seek an injunction against enforcement of the law from Nicaragua’s Supreme Court, based on constitutional and medical arguments.
They are also preparing a case based on women who may need an abortion in a life-threatening situation and plan to take it to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Nicaragua has accepted the authority of the Costa Rica-based international court.
But pro-life advocates say that abortions are being used in Nicaragua for any reason while claiming they are done for legitimate medical reasons.
It is a prosperous business," said Max Padilla, a Catholic activist who worked for passage of the abortion ban. "Now the people involved in that business are defending their livelihoods, presenting false cases."
The new abortion ban, upping Nicaragua’s previous law prohibiting most abortions, puts 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.
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.