Pregnant Nicaraguan Woman Denied Treatment for Metastatic Cancer


Amalia (an alias), a 27-year old Nicaraguan woman with a 10-year-old daughter, has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer.

She is in the hospital and could be treated, but for one thing.

She is also pregnant.

And therefore, under the law in Nicaragua, her life is meaningless.

According to a report by Amnesty International:

Nicaragua’s revised Penal Code, which came into effect in July 2008,
stipulates prison sentences for girls and women who seek an abortion
and for health professionals who provide health services associated
with abortion. The prohibition includes cases where the life of the
woman is at risk or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
[Emphasis added]

The revised penal code is inconsistent with the country’s Obstetric
Rules and Protocols issued by the Ministry of Health, to mandate
therapeutic abortions as clinical responses to specific cases.

"Nicaragua’s ban on abortion is the result of a shocking and draconian
law that is compelling rape and incest victims to carry pregnancies to
term and causing a rise in maternal deaths," said Widney Brown, Senior
Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

Amalia–a person, a woman, a daughter, a sister, a mother–may soon become one of those statistics we all bat around from the safety of our computers to talk about abortion and maternal death.

First diagnosed with cancer many years ago, Amalia was treated and went into remission.  She moved on and lived her life.  She had a daughter, now 10 years old, for whom she wants to stay alive.

In the first week of January, she was hospitalized and after testing was diagnosed with metastatic cancer for which her doctor stated aggressive chemotherapy and radiation would be needed to save her life. 

However, because the chemotherapy might affect or lead to the death of the fetus, no doctor will treat her because they fear the consequences of a law that leads to imprisonment for doctors who even deign to think that women like Amalia–merely an incubator under Nicaraguan law–have the right to be treated as aggressively as they would a man.

Providing a therapeutic abortion–one intended to save the life or health of the mother–would give Amalia a fighting chance to live to raise her daughter.  Amalia, wanting to live, is fighting for the right to have this abortion.  Without it, she is denied the treatment she needs to live.  Ironically–or perhaps not–without treatment she is not likely to live long enough to carry this pregnancy to term. 

Make sense yet?

Amalia’s sister, desperate not to lose Amalia, has pleaded for help from human rights groups, and a coalition of 20 organizations working on women’s rights, child rights, sexual violence and reproductive health, The Grupo Estratégico por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico de Nicaragua (Strategic Working Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic Abortion of Nicaragua) is advocating on her behalf.

According to a statement by the Grupo Estratégico: 

As the days pass, the cancer advances, and will continue to do so
without therapy. The life and health of Amalia are at stake. Her only
hope is to have a therapeutic abortion performed, in order to initiate
the adequate treatment to detain the cancer. Doctors are denying Amalia
of this procedure adducing that the law does not allow them to practice
therapeutic abortion.

Having exhausted appeals to Nicaraguan authorities, the group is now taking its case to the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission in Costa Rica.  The process–or should I just simply say "hoops"–through which Amalia and her representatives are being forced to jump are costing her precious days of treatment as her cancer progresses every day.

At some point, it will be too late for the treatment to matter.

Amalia is a human being, deserving of human rights.  Her case is also but one example of the end result of efforts of the so-called "pro-life" movement to make it increasingly difficult to see and treat women as actual human beings, as opposed to the container for the potential beings they may be carrying in their wombs.  Amalia may also soon be one of those statistics about which that movement creates every excuse in the book to dismiss as "not real," "irrelevant," "not that bad….". Remember how often the stories of women helped by Dr. George Tiller were discounted and contested by the so-called pro-life movement, and both the mainstream and online media after he was murdered?  (Did they really need those abortions….?).  Amalia is one of those women.  Before our eyes right now.  The only difference perhaps is that being in Nicaragua, it is even easier to ignore her case and make it a statistic.  She is "over there."

Her case is illustrative of the reasons why international organizations such as Amnesty International have taken on the battle to hold Nicaragua and other countries with similar laws accountable for human rights violations.

"UN
member states should take this opportunity to hold Nicaragua to account
for a law that violates women’s right to life, health and dignity," says Widney Brown.

"Nicaragua’s law criminalizing abortion goes against the advice of
four U.N. treaty bodies and fails to meet its obligations under
international human rights laws," Brown states. "Nicaragua needs to repeal this law immediately
and enact laws and policies that promote the rights of women and girls
by ensuring their rights to health, life and to be free from violence,
coercion and discrimination."

I hope that day comes, for every woman everywhere, though its arrival is constantly pushed into the future by the actions of the Catholic Church, organizations like Human Life International, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council and other so-called "pro-life" advocates. 

It may be too late for Amalia and all those she loves and by whom she is loved.

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  • alisa

    It’s stories like this that make me so angry that I want to cry. The audacity of men in this world to make such decisions about our lives. Can we raise money to get her to Mexico or the US? Can she be granted asylum? We have to do something.

  • meg

    So both the mother and the fetus are doomed. What does this say about the “worth” of human female life in their society? Scarily, this has happened here too. Susan Faludi I believe referenced a case like this in her book Backlash. A pregnant woman was denied treatment for her malignant cancer because she was pregnant – even though it was know that she would definitely die without treatment. In the United States there was not so much a criminal code that scared off the woman’s doctors – scarier still it was someone connected to the medical establishment that decided this woman’s fate and condemned her to death in order to prevent harm to her fetus resulting in the death of both.

  • airina

    Agreed.  Is there any way we can help?

  • helena

    The Nicaraguan law clearly reflects the pro life ideology –
    women as a means to an end!
    http://www.abortionaccess.info/healthhazard.htm

  • jgbeam

    ..would not prohibit treatment for metastatic cancer to save the life of the mother even if the fetus were at risk of death from the treatment. 

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • harry834

    do you support the rape/incest exception for abortion?

  • jodi-jacobson

    That is interesting because the Church supported this law in Nicaragua….the very one that denies an abortion to Amalia.

  • emma

    That is interesting because the Church supported this law in Nicaragua….the very one that denies an abortion to Amalia.

    That was my recollection as well, Jodi…IIRC, Ortega ‘needed’ to enlist the support of the Catholic Church when bringing the Sandinistas to power. That intertwining of the two is reflected in vile laws like the one that’s going to kill the woman mentioned in the article.

     

    So, yes, jgbeam, the Catholic Church does, in fact, support effectively murdering women. Unsurprising, given that they wanted to murder a nine-year-old rape victim by trying to force her to attempt to gestate and give birth to twins.

     

    Thanks a fuckton, Daniel Ortega and the Catholic Church.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Dear friends,

    Thank you for your offers of help for Amalia.

     

    I have made an inquiry about whether and how we can be of help from here and am awaiting an answer.

     

    Jodi

  • paul-bradford

    Can we raise money to get her to Mexico or the US?

     

    …I’d be happy to contribute.

     

    Pro-Life principles are simple.  Laws intended to promote Pro-Life principles shouldn’t be.  My Church is witnessing to the world about the value of unborn life, and I’m proud to be a part of that witness.  Our aim is to protect the lives of the very young — but there is no ‘simple’ way to provide that protection.  I stand with my Church as she works to promote respect for life — I differ with Catholic politicians who enact simplistic laws under the mistaken assumption that such laws will instill respect.

     

    Many of my fellow Catholics question my Pro-Life commitment because I refuse to promote laws designed to restrict a woman’s access to abortion.  This story is a perfect example of how such laws can backfire and lend legitimacy to the idea that society should play no role in preserving life before birth. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen
    The Catholic Church would not prohibit treatment for metastatic cancer to save the life
    of the mother even if the fetus were at risk of death from the
    treatment.

     

     Sorry, but this is, quite simply, not true. This law was passed to pander to the Catholic church in Nicaragua and the church got everything it asked for except increasing the 6 year sentence for procuring or obtaining an abortion to 20 years.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    From the article you cited:

     

    He (Msgr. Miguel Mantica, the Pastoral Vicar of the Archdiocese of Managua) also pointed out that the real reason behind the push for therapeutic abortion is to get abortion on demand legalized.

     

    Mantica demonstrates what happens when you ascribe the worst of motives to your opponents.  He seems to imagine that critics of Nicaragua’s law are universally insensitive to the rights of the unborn.  Black-and-white thinking, and the demonization of those who propose different solutions is the reason that we end up with less respect for the lives of women, and less respect for the lives of the unborn. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

     This story is a perfect example of how such laws can backfire and lend
    legitimacy to the idea that society should play no role in preserving
    life before birth.

     

     This law did not ‘backfire’, this law is operating in precisely the way that your church wants it to.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    this law is operating in precisely the way that your church wants it to.

     

    Add your comment to this one of Jodi’s:  Ironically–or perhaps not–without treatment she is not likely to live long enough to carry this pregnancy to term.

     

    Together we get a picture of a cadre of power-mad men who care nothing at all about the well being of children (this is just a smokescreen) and whose aim is to inflict as much suffering as possible on women.

     

    Of course, these men do nothing to promote a realistic assessment of their own characters when they depict you as a bunch of blood-thirsty harpies who laugh maniacally at the thought of babies being dismembered.

     

    This arrangement of mutually uncharitable distortions feeds upon itself, and draws us all away from solutions that will promote health and happiness. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    This arrangement of mutually uncharitable distortions feeds upon
    itself, and draws us all away from solutions that will promote health
    and happiness.

    Tell the Vatican.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • jodi-jacobson

    Paul,

    Implicitly claiming equivalency on these issues is disingenuous.

     

    The Church, Noriega, and the male elite in Nicaragua are responsible for this law.  Period.  The origins of the law and its passage have been reported here, and similar laws, such as that in El Salvador where women’s uteruses are held as "evidence" of attempted abortion are as well the creation of the Church and the male political leaders in that country.

     

    People interested in "solutions that will promote health
    and happiness," first recognize women as human beings with their own basic human rights, don’t impose upon them pregnancy as a sentence, don’t pass laws outlawing all forms of abortion–and in the case of Utah this week, prison sentences for miscarriages–don’t assume that the life of a not-yet born fetus is more important than that of a born person, and then turn around and go "who, me?"

     

    I don’t hear the Catholic Church taking up a collection, leading the charge in public or otherwise advocating for this woman….and a bit more than her "health and happiness" are immediately at stake.

     

    Jodi

     

  • progo35

    Please keep us apprised of anything we can do to help her.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jgbeam

    There is nothing in the Church’s teaching that supports denial of life-saving treatment to a pregnant woman.  Indeed, denial of such treatment would be euthanasia, which the Church also condemns.

     

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/articles/document.aspx?id=1238

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • liberaldem

    This is such a tragedy. Why deny this woman the option to seek a therapeutic abortion in order to receive potentially life-saving treatment? Are the Church leaders and politicians in Nicaragua so blind to the reality that this woman will most likely die and leave her 10 year old daughter motherless?

  • emma

    The Catholic Church has neither said nor done a thing to suggest that it gives a damn about pregnant women. If the Church were to kick up a fuss about this situation and publicly assert that women with cancer should be able to terminate their pregnancy so they can undergo their life-saving treatment, then I might change my mind.

     

    If the Vatican were to acknowledge that it was horribly wrong in wishing to force a nine-year-old rape victim to die while trying to gestate or give birth to twins…at that point, I may be willing to change my belief that the Catholic Church is a collective of moral monsters.

     

    That’s not hyperbole, by the way. I sincerely feel that the position the Catholic Church takes regarding sexuality and abortion is monstrous and demonstrates an utterly callous disregard for the lives of all women.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Having supported and helped to pass this bill outlawing abortions even in the case of the life of the mother, it would seem that your understanding of the Church’s words and it’s deeds are at odds….

     

    Moreover, if they so care about women in this situation, where is the Church in Nicaragua now, and what is it doing about this situation?

    Nothing.

     

     

  • jgbeam

    What Msgr. Mantica said was the Catholic Church does not support or approve of abortion, even therapeutic abortion.  It allows treatment of the mother for life threatening conditions even if the fetus is placed at risk.  Abortion is not allowed as a treatment but chemo and radiation are.  Abortion is not health care.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • nutmeg

    It is not clear to me whether it is actually necessary for her to have an abortion before beginning treatment. Why can’t they proceed? I realize that chemo and radiation are highly likely to have a negative effect on a fetus, but is the law written so that undertaking any action likely to have a negative effect on the health of the fetus is forbidden (as in Utah, for example), or is it simply straightforward abortion that is forbidden?

  • jodi-jacobson

    Doctors will not give her chemo or radiation for fear of negatively affecting the fetus and therefore effectively causing her to miscarry/abort.

     

    They will not provide an actual therapeutic abortion for the same reasons.

     

    the law forbids these, a la the Utah law.

  • crowepps

    Mantica, like most other people, assumes that his opponents think as he does himself.

  • colleen

    I read the link. It does not say that the church:

     

    allows treatment of the mother for life threatening conditions even if the fetus is placed at risk.

     

    or that:

    Abortion is not allowed as a treatment but chemo and radiation are

     

    What part of chemo and radiation treatments are being denied to this woman because she is pregnant don’t you understand?Are you actually claiming that the church has nothing to do with the current state of affairs?

     

    You know what Jim, I’m going to believe what the church and the news reports say. If the church gave a rats ass they would have interceded long before this became an international incident and provided yet another example of the contempt they  have for women and girls.

    Abortion is not health care.

     

    Bullshit

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • jodi-jacobson

    of indisputably twisted thinking.

     

    You can not undergo and survive and have radiation and chemotherapy help you with mestastasizing cancer when your body is trying to also support a pregnancy. That is part of the point here.

     

    To say the Church allows "treatment" for the mother even if the fetus is at risk is to condemn this woman to die while this fetus will also unquestionably die.
    It is so far beyond absurd, and yet so illustrative that the Church and you would think this is a compassionate response that I need not say more.

     

    it speaks for itself.

  • crowepps

    You are ignoring the metabolic load the pregnancy places on the mother, and the fact that the radiation and/or chemo may make her sick enough for the pregnancy to ‘spontaneously’ abort, creating an additional risk of hemorrhage while she is already ill. 

  • crowepps

    As I understand Catholic theology, laws that increase suffering aren’t a problem at all because it gives the person who suffers ‘patiently’ and ‘offers up’ that suffering an opportunity to reduce the eventual punishments that God has waiting.  Since God has a list of terrible penalties awaiting everyone after death, the Bishops figure they should be proactive and just get started making them miserable right away. 

    Redemptive suffering is the Roman Catholic belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with the Passion of Jesus, can remit the just punishment for one’s sins or for the sins of another. Like an indulgence, redemptive suffering does not gain the individual forgiveness for their sin; forgiveness results from God’s grace, freely given through Christ, which cannot be earned. After one’s sins are forgiven, the individual’s suffering can reduce the penalty due for sin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redemptive_suffering

  • paul-bradford

    Implicitly claiming equivalency on these issues is disingenuous.

     

    Jodi,

     

    As far as I understand it, we are only talking about one issue — the law in Nicaragua as it pertains to a woman’s access to abortion.  I’m pointing out that there is ill will on both sides of the debate.  People on either side are insisting that their opponents are motivated by bad intent.  Consequently, there is no meeting of the minds, and no compromise.

     

    I personally can’t see any way to protect the unborn that doesn’t involve the enthusiastic consent of their mothers.  This is why I see the need for constructive conversation.  You seem to be unwilling to accept the possibility that the "male elite" in Nicaragua have a point when they argue that it’s morally problematic for a woman to procure an abortion in order to receive medical treatment.  You’re adamant about ascribing misogynistic intent — and that stance makes conversation impossible.

     

    Oklahoma passed a law last year making it illegal for a woman to abort for the purpose of selecting a baby’s sex.  The law was struck down a few days ago for technical reasons, but the state legislature is geared up to pass a new law that doesn’t violate the "single subject" requirement in the State Constitution.

     

    Supposing that we weren’t discussing the plight of a mortally ill Nicaraguan woman.  Suppose we were talking about a well-to-do Oklahoman mother of a girl who wanted to ‘balance’ her family with a boy.  Suppose Oklahoma law prevented her from aborting her fetus for being female.  Such a woman wouldn’t garner nearly the sympathy that we’re all eager to give to this Nicaraguan woman.  I suppose the Oklahoman would engender contempt from the typical American — but the issue would be identical: Can we compel women to behave ethically toward their unborn children by legally restricting access to abortion?  The fact that one woman’s desire for an abortion seems more sympathetic than another’s doesn’t alter the fact that all unborn children need protection but none will get it without their mother’s cooperation.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    Surprisingly, studies have shown pretty conclusively that most women have no preference as to the sex of their children, and that instead it tends to be men who are insistent that at leaset one child ‘must’ be a boy.  I realize that this doesn’t fit in with your personal credo: If Something’s Wrong, It Must Be Mom’s Selfishness!

    People on either side are insisting that their opponents are motivated by bad intent.

    I don’t think the Church is "motivated by bad intent", I think it is motivated by an archaic belief system which dismisses women’s lives as disposable because it thinks women who have had sex are ‘unclean’.

  • jgbeam

     

    "The government of Nicaragua has repeatedly clarified that the country’s prohibition of abortion does not ban lifesaving medical procedures that could indirectly and unintentionally cause an abortion. Therefore, chemotherapy and other lifesaving treatments would not be denied to "Amalia" under the nation’s laws. Nevertheless, international pro-abortion groups are seeking to use the case in its campaign to overturn the country’s pro-life legislation."

     http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10022215.html

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • jodi-jacobson

    This is exactly my point.

     

    Anti-choice groups will use any excuse to deflect attention from the reality of the policies for which they advocate.

     

    She does not need an "unintentional" abortion.  She needs an abortion.  Period.  Ravaged with METASTATIC CANCER she can not support the pregnancy and go through the chemo and radiation.  That is the first point.

     

    The second point: Doctors in Nicaragua and women in Nicaragua already know what you seem unwilling to admit.  Anti-choice witch hunters will do anything–as we see you doing here–to question the motives and actions of medical professionals, leaving those doctors subject to proscecution and jail.

     

    She needs an abortion to survive and undergo the treatment.

     

    Not sure what you don’t get about this part, but clearly you do not want to get it and I would never have expected you would.

     

    There is a woman dying in a hospital in Nicaragua whose death could possibly have been avoided and whose 10-year old daughter could possibly have spent months or years more with her mother.  As I knew would happen, anti-choicers are trying to split hairs on the head of a pin as precious time elapses.

     

    You can try to excuse this all you want, but your efforts are as hollow and carry as much weight as a soap bubble.

     

     

  • jgbeam

    Why not give her the treatment without aborting the baby? From all I have read, neither the government nor the Church prohibit this.  Certainly there is risk to the fetus but why not try to save both persons.  Yes, persons.  Plural.

     

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • jgbeam

    Show me where that article, says the Church or the government is denying chemo or radiation.  From all that I have read on this matter it is abortion that is being denied, not medical treatment.  I feel as strongly as you that that woman should receive treatment for her cancer, but abortion is not treatment for cancer.

    Jim Grant, Pro-lifer

  • meg

    Not quite euthanasia which at least in euphemism is a peaceful “good” death, meant to spare suffering. Unless some sort of spontaneous healing occurs this woman will suffer and die a difficult death. This is medical neglect. The life of this woman is being disposed of because the fetus inside her is considered a higher priority than her.

  • colleen

    I feel as strongly as you that that woman should receive treatment for her cancer, but abortion is not treatment for cancer.

     

    What part of this aren’t you understanding, Jim?  Do you have any idea what pregnancy does to a body? How about aggressive radiation and chemo treatments? Do you want to kill her or would that be an unfortunate side effect?

    Your denial of reality in favor of dogma is a great example of why the religious right should never have power over the lives of others again. 

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • colleen

    Why not give her the treatment without aborting the baby?

    So, what you’re saying is that a woman with stage 4 cancer should be able to just try a little harder and she will be able to overcome the burden placed on her body by her metastasizing cancer, by her pregnancy and by aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments?

    What is wrong with you?

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • emma

    What’s wrong with Jim, I think, is that he’s so stuck in anti-abortion dogma that he really doesn’t give a damn about whether a pregnant cancer victim or foetus dies, as long as she doesn’t have an abortion. To Jim, I think, it doesn’t matter if she dies a horrible death and the foetus dies as well. The risk to the foetus doesn’t matter. I think people like Jim are so focused on being anti-abortion that life is basically irrelevant. I’m not sure whether that makes him a hideous person/sadist, a victim of religious dogma, or some combination thereof.

     

    Ok, so I just asked my best friend, who’s survived cancer and now has a kid, how she thinks she’d manage being pregnant and having cancer & cancer tx all at once. She said she thinks it’d be unimaginably horrendous, and that if she were in that situation and unable to terminate, she’d probably kill herself rather than go through that. That’s just the opinion of one woman, obviously, but I’d submit that she knows what she’s talking about a lot better than Jim does.

     

  • ahunt

    Nonsense Emma. Jim loves women. This is manifestly and irrevocably true. The proof is in his steadfast conviction that abortion is not health care.

     

    Silly you.

  • ingegerd

    Why not give her the treatment without aborting the baby? From all I have read, neither the government nor the Church prohibit this.

     

    Then you haven’t read much. Other sources say it’s the Nicaraguen authorities who have withheld the treatment. This isn’t a case where an individual doctor is a wuss, or interpreting the legislation incorrectly. It’s the authorities who have decided to not provide treatment, as it could harm the fetus and therefore violate the ban on abortion.

     

    According to said other sources (which come up first in a google search for amalia + nicaragua, so I really don’t know what you’ve been researching) the woman is in the first trimester. This means chemotherapy carries a risk of major malformations, and radiation carries a risk of mental retardation. Aggressive cancer treatment is very hard on the body and could cause her to miscarry, malformations or no malformations. One could argue that cancer treatment during the first trimester isn’t very wise.

     

    But in the end the rationale of why they’re withholding treatment doesn’t matter. It’s no help that you think you know better than them what their laws (or their God) say, don’t dislocate your arm trying to pat yourself on the back for solving this problem. What matters is how the people in charge interpret the laws. Unfortunately they not only believe that abortion is wrong, they believe that it’s worse than losing the mother, even when losing the mother means the fetus they’re trying to protect has no chance as she won’t make it to term.

  • julie-watkins

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022203576_pf.html

    Vatican official dismisses calls for resignation

    By NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press Monday, February 22, 2010; 7:08 PM

    VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s top bioethics official on Monday dismissed calls for his resignation following an uproar over his defense of doctors who aborted the twin fetuses of a 9-year-old child who was raped by her stepfather. Monsignor Renato Fisichella told The Associated Press he refused to respond to five members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life who questioned his suitability to lead the institution. Fisichella wrote an article in the Vatican’s newspaper in March saying the Brazilian doctors didn’t deserve excommunication as mandated by church law because they were saving the girl’s life. The call for mercy sparked heated criticism from some academy members who said it implied the Vatican was opening up to so-called "therapeutic abortion" to save the mother’s life. … [snip]

    I think this was the earlier statement, when the Brazilian story was getting bad press for the Vatican, was accused of just trying to save the Vatican’s reputation … but the topic is back in the news again — at an annual assembly — and he’s not backing down.

  • crowepps

    According to the information at the link below, she is 10 weeks pregnant.  The original article said she had gone without cancer treatment for two weeks.  That would mean she was about eight weeks along when she was diagnosed.  At that point the embryo is extremely vulnerable to medications.  Of course, since her cancer sounds pretty extensive and it isn’t likely she’s going to make it another six months until the fetus is big enough to survive birth, at this point it’s obvious that her life is being thrown away so that everyone can continue to pretend the Church is insistent on banning abortion because there’s a connection to ’valuing life’.  The Church sure doesn’t seem to value HER life.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/24/nicaraguas-abortion-ban-is-inhumane-and-backward/

  • the-abortioneers

    Jodi, thank you. Is there an advocate or organization assisting Amalia right now? Several of us bloggers at The Abortioneers have extensive experience in managing complicated logistics impeding a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. It seems unlikely that Amalia will be able to force the government’s hand in time to get an abortion in-country (a common problem with cases involving violation of pregnancy rights!). If this is the case, I know for a fact we could find out the nearest and safest legal provider elsewhere, communicate with the relevant clinic/hospital coordinator, and raise the needed hospital or travel fees. We’ll check back to this post, but please don’t hesitate to contact us at [abortioneers at gmail] as well. We find this extremely worrisome but don’t know where to offer help right now.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I am and have been trying to find out how we could best offer help and have just written again to ask this question.  I will let this offer be known and I personally would love to be able to be a briegde for getting her some assistance.

     

    With best wishes always, Jodi

  • prolife-democrat

    It is always easy to blame the Catholic Church, but if you go to http://www.catholicculture.org you will see that the Catholic teaching does not prohibit a woman who is pregnant from receiving chemotheraphy when they are pregnant.  Quote: “In short, a pregnant woman who is faced with the grim reality of impending death short of the use of, e.g., chemotherapy or hysterectomy, may use these and other morally licit medical treatments an procedures for the reasonably grave reason of saving her life, as long as the death of her unborn child is not directly intended as the end (or purpose) of using these procedures, or is the means by which her life is saved, but only allowed or permitted to happen as an accidental by-product of these medical actions, and no other reasonable medical treatment is available.”

  • crowepps

    What is this supposed to be, a get-around based on ‘oops’? In the real world, where real women have real cancer and are refused treatment because “the Church” has changed the law of the land to make the possible continued existence of the embryo for a few more months the focus of the issue, in hopes I guess that it won’t be too premature when they remove it from the dying woman. I suppose her death could also be described as “an accidental by-product” of the Church’s actions.

     

    The idea that aborting/damaging the fetus to save her life ON PURPOSE is morally suspect, but aborting/damaging the fetus to save her life BY ACCIDENT is perfectly okay is really, really suspect. This is the same reasoning used by drunk drivers: “It’s true I was very impaired when I got in the car, but it wasn’t my intention to kill anybody, that part “happened as an accidental by-product”. Most juries don’t buy that excuse any more.

     

    Deliberately removing the embryo or fetus IS “the means by which her life is saved”, its subsequent death from prematurity can also be described as “an accidental by-product of these medical actions”.

     

    If it’s ‘moral’ to accidentally kill an embryo with chemo, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be just as moral to ‘accidentally’ kill the embryo by removing it from the uterus.