Nicaragua Supreme Court to Rule on Abortion Ban in Next Two Weeks

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 31, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nicaragua Supreme Court to Rule on Abortion Ban in Next Two Weeks Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 31,

Managua Nicaragua ( — The Supreme Court in Nicaragua is expected to issue a ruling on the nation’s abortion ban in the next two weeks. The Central American nation adopted the complete ban last November that prohibits all abortions, including those for rape and incest or to save the life of the mother.

Abortion advocates, led by the New York-based Americas for Human Rights Watch, have taken the law to court.

The nation’s high court is expected to deliver a decision in the case soon and it could result in the undermining of other pro-life laws in the region.

In a statement received on Friday, Human Rights Watch claimed the ban violates international human rights standards and outs women’s health at risk. That’s despite research showing significant medical problems and health effects for women who have abortions.

“International law prohibits bans on abortion because such restrictions deny women their basic rights to life and health,” José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW, said. “Nicaragua’s abortion ban is an affront to international standards — and Nicaragua’s women.”

The group released an open letter it wrote to Nicaragua’s Supreme Court in which it detailed a list of treaties and documents it alleges the abortion ban violates.

HRW also claimed that it has discovered evidence of the ban’s harmful impact on women.

"During a research mission to Nicaragua in August, Human Rights Watch documented delays in the provision of obstetric emergency care in the public health sector that resulted in avoidable fatalities," the group asserts.

However, Colin Mason of the Population Research Institute says HRW and other pro-abortion groups promoted a bogus case that was factually incorrect and was only meant to promote abortion.

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.

Abortion advocates say the pro-life laws are resulting in the maternal deaths of women who have illegal abortions and Ipas estimates 30,000 Nicaraguan women have illegal abortions annually.

However, legalizing abortion in industrialized nations hasn’t made it any safer and Susan Yoshihara of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says she doubts the figures are accurate. She also said that most any doctor is willing to treat women following complications from an abortion.

The abortion ban put Nicaragua in league with thirty-four nations across the globe that prohibit all abortions.