Nicaragua's Total Abortion Ban
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Nicaragua's legislature is expected to pass a total abortion ban today.
The legislation even outlaws abortions performed to save the life of the mother. Not surprisingly, the Catholic "Culture of Life" Church helped draft the bill.
The new law would establish prison sentences of six to 30 years for women who abort their pregnancies and the doctors who perform the procedure.
Leaders of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front and the ruling right-wing Liberal Alliance have said their representatives will vote for the proposal. The two groups control all but one seat in the 92-member legislature. [ LAT]
The real shocker is that the left-wing Sandinista Front has pledged to support the bill:
Presidential candidate Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Front, who holds a large lead in most polls, has spoken out in favor of the measure. Ortega, who is seeking to return to the office he held in the 1980s, in September signed a declaration drafted by evangelical leaders that declared the existing abortion laws in Nicaragua are "a pretext to legalize all abortions."
The Sandinista Front ruled Nicaragua for a decade after leading a successful revolution against dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. The leftists were known as pioneers of Latin American feminism.
Ana Maria Pizarro of the Autonomous Women's Movement said the Sandinistas' backing of the tough new antiabortion law had caused a private split among the party's top female leaders.
"The position of the party leadership is hypocritical and opportunistic," Pizarro said. "They've created a crisis within the women's movement of the Sandinista Front." [LAT]
Curious what happens when abortion is criminalized? Check out this recent interview with Jack Hitt on his NYT Mag cover story on El Salvador, 8 years into its total abortion ban...