Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Real-world results of a ban on abortions

* November, 2007: Women die after Nicaragua's ban on abortions, MSNBC Health. "Nicaragua last year became one of 35 countries that ban all abortions, even to save the life of the mother, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. ...at least three women have died because of the ban, and another 12 reported cases will be examined, said gynecologist and university researcher Eliette Valladares, who is working with the Pan American Health Organization to analyze deaths of pregnant women recorded by Nicaragua’s Health Ministry. "

* July, 2009: Nicaraguan Abortion Ban Increasing Maternal Deaths, Violating Human Rights. 'According to the [Amnesty International] report, at least half of reported rapes are of minors, and most of those who become pregnant are younger than age 15. Citing statistics from the Nicaraguan Health Ministry, the report found that 33 women and girls died from pregnancy-related complications in the first 19 weeks of this year, and 20 died in the same period in 2008. The report adds that the real numbers likely are much higher. Kate Gilmore, executive deputy secretary-general of Amnesty International, said, "A festering, debilitating human rights situation (is) bringing grave fear, threat, harm and even death to Nicaragua's girl children and women." Leonel Arguello, president of the Nicaraguan Society of General Medicine, said, "Not being allowed to do everything to save your patient goes against medical ethics." He added that many physicians decline to treat pregnant women in obstetric emergencies or delay treatment because they fear breaking the law.... The ban ended a 100-year-old exception that had allowed abortion when the woman's health was at risk.'

* August, 2009: Abortion ban leads to more maternal deaths in Nicaragua, The Lancet (British journal of the medical profession). Dozens of pregnant women have died since the total ban on abortion—even in cases of rape, incest, and life threatening pregnancy—came into force in July, 2008. “Nicaragua's total ban on abortions has had a devastating impact on women in Nicaragua denying them life-saving treatment, preventing health professionals from practising effective medicine”, said Kate Gilmore, deputy general secretary at Amnesty International." I am somewhat puzzled by this report because it says that the ban took effect in 2008, when it took effect Nov. 18, 2006, and I've been seeing reports of deaths since 2007.

* February, 2010: Nicaraguan abortion law becomes a cancer patient's death sentence. "A pregnant 27-year old Nicaraguan woman has been refused treatment for metastatic cancer, a result of Nicaragua's draconian anti-abortion law.... The law is so complete that it criminalizes abortion even when carrying the pregnancy to term threatens the health or life of the mother (as in the case of the aforementioned woman with the pseudonym "Amelia," who is being denied cancer treatment because of potential harm to the fetus).... Amelia's case has brought the hideousness of this law to international light. The particularly cruel irony in her case is that she is likely to die from the cancer before the baby is even born, meaning the government's policy will have not only killed the mother, but the baby as well. Amelia is also the mother of a 10-year-old girl, who apparently has no right to a mother.... "

Most of the girls who get pregnant are 14 or younger. Most of them are victims of incest, molested by their own fathers and uncles. Pregnancy is dangerous for a child not yet fully grown.

In addition, women who aren't even pregnant are being refused services by their doctors, who are afraid of being accused of providing abortions and not being able to prove that they didn't.

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