Saturday, November 18, 2006

Abortion Ban in Nicaragua

South Dakotans recently rejected a strict abortion ban, but Nicaragua has now adopted one:

Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos has signed into law a ban on all abortions, even in cases when a woman's life is judged to be at risk. Previous legislation from a century ago allowed an abortion if three doctors certified that the woman was in danger. Abortion was a central issue for November's presidential election in mainly Roman Catholic Nicaragua. President-elect Daniel Ortega once favoured abortion rights but changed stance after re-embracing Catholicism.


The former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was a defender of Nicaragua's limited abortion rights and a critic of the Catholic church when he led a left-wing Nicaraguan government in the 1980s. He has since been reconciled with the church and has become a strident opponent of abortion.

I thought the last bit about Ortega's views was interesting, given his general leftist position. It may have been a more practical change of thinking, rather than a principled one: It was a good way to pick up some more votes.

It's interesting to see how the abortion debate plays out in other countries, in comparison to what we see in the U.S. In this regard, the article also notes:

Public opinion in Nicaragua, which is estimated to be 85% Roman Catholic, appeared to be behind the bill. Similarly strict laws are in place in Chile and El Salvador. In many other Latin American countries, abortion is permitted if the woman's life is in danger. In May, abortion restrictions were partially eased in Colombia to permit terminations in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother or foetus is in danger.

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