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NICARAGUA
Therapeutic abortion banned
Latinamerica Press
11/2/2006
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Nicaraguan women will no longer have access to therapeutic abortion, following an Oct. 26 National Assembly vote on a legislation in place since 1893.

With 52 votes of the participating 90 deputies (29 did not attend the vote and nine abstained) in favor of the measure. Article 165 of the Penal Code that permitted therapeutic abortion in cases of rape, when the life of the mother is in danger, and serious damages to the embryo and fetus, was annulled. Nicaragua joins Chile and El Salvador as the only countries in Latin America to ban therapeutic abortion.

Women’s movements, human rights groups, medical associations and international organizations protested the ruling that was backed unanimously by members of the National Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN) — which teamed up with the Catholic Church on the issue, making it a historic vote for the leftist political party — the Liberal Constitutional Party and Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance.

Women who have these abortions and the doctors who perform them will now face four to eight years of prison.

"Women shouldn’t be going to jail for getting abortions; it’s that simple," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch. "But instead of protecting the rights of the citizens they represent, the political parties have used women’s bodies as an electoral battleground."


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