by Steven Ertelt
May 28, 2007
Managua, Nicaragua (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Nicaragua led a protest at the Supreme Court building in the capital of the Central American nation on Monday. They want the high court there to overturn a pro-life law the country’s legislature approved prohibiting abortions in all cases — including if necessary to save the life of the mother.
The nation’s high court is expected to deliver a decision in the case sometime soon and pro-abortion activists hope the court overturns the law.
If it does, that could pave the way for allowing abortions in more cases both in Nicaragua as well as other Latin American nations where most or all abortions are illegal.
Protesters in cars formed a convoy in the main streets of town blocking traffic and honking their horns on the way to the court. The convey was led by a truck that carried a sculpture depicting a woman crucified on a cross — something seen as sacrilegious in this heavily Catholic nation.
Magali Quintana, of the Feminist Movement, told the Xinhua news agency in China that she hopes the court will declare the law unconstitutional and said she worries about more illegal abortions there, even though legalizing abortion doesn’t make the practice safer.
The march was also backed by the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center and the Nicaraguan Gynaeco-Obstetrics Association.
Last November, President Enrique Bolaños signed a new abortion ban into law that prohibits all abortions, including those for rape and incest or to save the life of the mother. Saying the new ban violates "fundamental rights and principles," the New York-based Americas for Human Rights Watch filed a lawsuit for abortion advocates in the nation seeking to overturn it.
Lilian Sepulveda, a legal adviser for the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion advocacy group in New York, claims the ban goes against international law and treaties.
"Because Nicaragua signed regional and international treaties, they have an obligation to respect international law," she said.
Pro-abortion groups, like Ipas, a North Carolina-based group, are worried that members of the Nicaragua high court will be susceptible to pressure from the Catholic Church.
"There is a possibility that what happened in October with the influence of the Catholic Church could happen again with this case," Marta Maria Blandon, of the group, told a pro-abortion web site.
Should they lose in the Nicaragua court, abortion advocates will head to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in New York or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The latter, an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, says the new law is contrary to international documents.
Both agencies have issued previous rulings against Mexico and Peru in abortion cases.
Responding to the court case, Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic outreach director for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that "Pressure is being applied to Nicaragua’s Supreme Court by those who stand to gain the most financially from the liberalization of Nicaragua’s protective pro-life laws."
"Latin America continues to be under attack from pro-abortion forces who want to see the same type of abortion on demand for any reason in those countries as we have here in the United States," he added.
The abortion ban put Nicaragua in league with thirty-four nations across the globe that prohibit all abortions. Others ban abortions in some or most cases.