[News] Nicaraguan Abortion Ban Jeopardizes Women’s Health, Lives

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Mon Oct 8 11:08:25 EDT 2007


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Nicaraguan Abortion Ban Jeopardizes Women's Health, Lives

Feminist Daily News Wire
October 3, 2007

A study released yesterday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that 
Nicaraguan women's health and lives have been put at risk by the 
country's blanket ban on abortions, imposed one year ago. The ban 
includes "therapeutic abortions" (abortions meant to save a woman's 
life or health) and has no exceptions for rape or incest.

The HRW report, <http://hrw.org/reports/2007/nicaragua1007>"Over 
Their Dead Bodies," found that the ban has not only discouraged women 
from seeking abortions but has also had a ripple effect on basic 
obstetric and gynecological care. According to the report, many women 
are no longer seeking medical help for pregnancy-related 
complications for fear that they will be accused of inducing an abortion.

"Doctors in Nicaragua are now afraid to provide even legal health 
services to pregnant women," said Angela Heimburger, Americas 
researcher at HRW's Women's Rights Division.

The study also notes that the Nicaraguan government hasn't enforced 
guidelines meant to curb these unintended effects of the ban and has 
no plans to study its effect on women's health.

On Sunday, protesters with the Nicaraguan Feminist Movement 
interrupted mass at a church in Managua to 
the ban, the Associated Press reports. Women's and human rights 
groups filed petitions in January asking the Nicaraguan Supreme Court 
to declare the ban unconstitutional, but the Court has yet to rule. 
The only other countries with blanket bans on abortion are Chile and 
El Salvador, according to HRW.

Media Resources:The Associated Press 10/2/07; Human Rights Watch 
Press Release 10/2/07; "Over Their Dead Bodies" 10/07

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