Andrea Lynch shares candid reflections from Evelyn Flores Mayorga from Puntos de Encuentro on the Nicaraguan total abortion ban—how it passed into law and what has happened since then.
The Supreme Court has effectively unfurled the judicial equivalent of a banner reading "Bring it on, Roe haters!" by upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003; we can expect even more state-level restrictions in the months and years to come. Meanwhile, Nicaragua women are suffering from that country's total abortion ban—36 women have died from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes so far in 2007.
Last Thursday, in commemoration of International Women's Day, over two thousand women and men from across Nicaragua gathered to protest the total ban on abortion—including in cases where pregnant women's lives are at risk—that has been in place since late 2006.
Sad, sad news from Nicaragua, where another young mother has died as a result of the new law prohibiting abortion under any circumstances—including when a pregnant woman's life is at risk. On February 7 the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario reported that 22-year-old Francis Zamora died at Managua's Hospital Berta Calderón on January 30 from a massive infection resulting from a miscarriage that had begun days earlier. Claiming that their hands were tied by the new law, doctors had refused to perform a D&C (procedure to empty the uterus) that could have saved her life until it was too late. Francis leaves behind her mother, as well as three children, ages six, five, and one and a half.
Talk about a film that has all of the elements of great human drama and pits the marginalized against the powerful. Such is the story of "Rosita," an hour-long documentary by award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater.
In January 2003, the international press broke the story of a pregnant 9-year-old Nicaraguan girl who had been raped in Costa Rica. Rosita, as she comes to be called to preserve her anonymity, is the daughter of illiterate campesinos who had moved to Costa Rica to pick coffee, the classic story of impoverished immigrants seeking a better life. Rosita is a carefree and intelligent 8-year-old girl who loves her life in the country and loves dolls, dogs, chicken, and hens. She is in the second grade and learning to read and write; she paints and draws the world around her, and is elected "Miss Congeniality" at her school. Her child's world is shattered when she is raped by a 22-year-old neighbor who lures her into his home with promises of sweet tangerines and colorful TV shows.
Here's an international abortion item you won't read about in LifeSiteNews: after reflecting on it for five minutes, a range of Nicaraguan decision-makers from both the Church and the State have suddenly decided that criminalizing abortion to save a woman's life might not be such a great idea after all. Would that they had been captured by the spirit of reflection back in October, when they joined together in an unholy alliance to yank the 130-year-old therapeutic abortion provision from the Nicaraguan Penal Code in the space of a few weeks, thereby rendering the procedure illegal under any circumstances, including health- and life-threatening pregnancies.
Wednesday, January 10, the day I returned to Nicaragua after a one-month hiatus in the States, was a significant day in contemporary Latin American politics. Selected heads of state from the region and around the world had gathered in Managua to celebrate the presidential inauguration of left-wing Sandinista party leader Daniel Ortega, reelected for the first time in 16 years. Ortega's discourse has changed significantly since he was president in the 1980s – on Wednesday, his remarks focused on building strength through unity and reconciliation. He condemned the 16 previous years of conservative leadership that had widened inequalities between the rich and the poor and undermined many of the successes of the Sandinista era. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Bolivian president Evo Morales, George Bush's most outspoken critics in Latin America, also spoke at the inauguration, pledging economic and political solidarity with Nicaragua, and celebrating Ortega's victory as an important step against the marginalization of Latin American countries, and the neglect of their poorest citizens.