Nicaragua Abortion Backers Disrupt Catholic Mass, Attack Abortion Ban

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 2, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nicaragua Abortion Backers Disrupt Catholic Mass, Attack Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 2, 2007

Managua, Nicaragua ( — Abortion advocates in Nicaragua disrupted a Catholic service on Sunday at the Cathedral of Managua in Nicaragua and attempted to receive communion. They reacted violently when Catholic leaders refused to give them communion and forced Father Bismark Conde to end the service with their protests and remarks.

Members of "Catholics for a Free Choice" refused to leave the church and protested the decision to deny them communion.

According to the Nicaraguan daily “La Prensa,” the members of the church told the pro-abortion activists to leave while Father Conde attempted to maintain peace.

Another group of women went outside the cathedral to protest abortion and their presence caused police present to stay outside rather than assist the church members.

Police eventually forced the women inside to leave the church.

Father Rolando Alvarez, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Managua, said the incident sent a “negative message to the people, especially to the country’s children,” as the women’s attitudes “only display harmful elements, when civil conduct is what should prevail in society.”

Ofelia Palacios, who was also in attendance, said the women came into the church wearing shirts that read “Yes to Abortion."

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based pro-abortion group Human Rights Watch released a report on Tuesday claiming the complete abortion ban Nicaragua has adopted is causing human rights abuses. This isn’t the first time the group has made the allegation and it has come under fire for falsifying reports of supposed abuses in past criticism.

The group’s new report, titled “Over Their Dead Bodies," supposedly documents how the abortion ban has made women afraid to seek legal reproductive health services.

“Doctors in Nicaragua are now afraid to provide even legal health services to pregnant women," Angela Heimburger, Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch’s Women’s Rights Division, told in a statement.

“Some testified that personnel at public hospitals refused women and girls adequate care after devastating miscarriages, with direct reference to the ban," she claimed.

She says President Daniel Ortega’s government has not studied the health effects of the ban.

“President Ortega should immediately help mitigate the disastrous effects of this ban by prioritizing pregnant women’s access to emergency medical care,” said Heimburger. “Nicaragua’s president needs to reassure women they will not be punished for trying to stay alive. At the same time, he should aggressively promote public awareness and access to services.”

The group has taken the law to court and the Nicaragua Supreme Court is expected to rule soon and it could result in the undermining of other pro-life laws in the region.

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.