Nicaragua’s law banning all abortions without exception carries with it lethal consequences.
Because abortion is completely illegal in Nicaragua, a 27 year-old mother of a ten-year old girl will likely die from treatable cancer. “Amelia” is ten-weeks pregnant and recently diagnosed with advanced cancer. Doctors determined that terminating her pregnancy was necessary to treat the cancer because the treatment would likely harm or kill the fetus. But because even therapeutic abortion is punishable with criminal sanctions, the doctors will not allow Amelia to terminate her pregnancy, nor will they administer the cancer treatment because in Nicaraguan law a pregnancy takes precedence over a woman’s right to life.
Nicaragua’s ban has been condemned by human rights and medical organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. These groups, along with four United Nations committees including the Committee against Torture, the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee, and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women have made specific recommendations that Nicaragua change its law to permit therapeutic abortion. The move comes in the face of mounting evidence of many more cases like Amelia’s where women have died or been injured because they were denied a therapeutic abortion.
You can do something too. Care2 has launched a petition calling on Nicaragua to allow Amelia access to the cancer treatments that could allow her to live and continue parenting her 10 year-old daughter. Reproductive Health Reality Check has a list of contacts for Nicaraguan authorities. No woman should be forced to orphan her child because she was denied access to basic medical care. Call on Nicaragua to change it’s law and help Amelia get access to medical services she
Sign the Care2 petition here.
photo courtesy of Unhindered by Talent via Flickr