Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nicuragua - denying women is terrorism against women

Well so much for Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas being socialists. Ortega has brought in a brutal penal code that has criminalised all abortions in Nicuragua, not that it matters but for all abortions regardless of the circumstances.

Read what Amnesty International have to say on Nicaragua. So glad they started to see women's need for abortion as a human rights issue. Well done Amnesty.

Women and girls must have the right to choose to pregnant or not - abortion is essential to women and girls for a plethora of reasons, a woman's right to choose must not just include the right to abortion if she needs it but also rights over her fertility and sexuality, women need to be able to choose who to have sex with and for it to be wanted, safe and protected.

Daniel Ortega's deal with the Catholic Church indicates a misogynistic response to women's needs. His government is behaving barbariously by preventing women the right not just to choose but to live. Ortega and his government must be condemned by socialists and lefts through out the world.

From an article from Amnesty International below:

Nicaragua's total ban on abortions is endangering the lives of girls and women, denying them life-saving treatment, preventing health professionals from practising effective medicine and contributing to an increase in maternal deaths across the country, concluded Amnesty International in a new report today, Read the report: 'The Total Abortion Ban In Nicaragua' (PDF).

According to official figures, 33 girls and women have died in pregnancy this year as compared to 20 in the same period last year. Amnesty International believes these figures are only a minimum as the government itself has acknowledged that the number of maternal deaths is under-recorded.

The report 'The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women's lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalised' is the first Amnesty International study examining the human rights implications of the denial of abortion when the life or health of a woman or girl is at risk, including when she is a victim of rape or incest.

Nicaragua's revised Penal Code stipulates prison sentences for girls and women who seek an abortion and for health professionals who provide health services associated with abortion. Only three per cent of the world's countries have such absolute bans in place.

The new Code introduces criminal sanctions for doctors and nurses who treat a pregnant woman or girl for illnesses such as cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS or cardiac emergencies where such treatment is contraindicated in pregnancy and may cause injury to or death of the embryo or foetus. This includes eptopic pregrancies when the foetus is not viable and the consequences can be at best a hysterectomy and at worst, death.

It even goes as far as punishing girls and women who have suffered a miscarriage, as in many cases it is impossible to distinguish spontaneous from induced abortions. Women cannot get D & C's after a miscarriage in order to ensure the foetus and other pregnancy debris is removed properly causing blood poisoning after miscarriagesparticularly later ones.

This new law is in conflict with the Nicaraguan Obstetric Rules and Protocols issued by the Ministry of Health which mandate therapeutic abortions as clinical responses to specific cases. However, no assurances have been given by the authorities that doctors will not be prosecuted if they respect these Rules.

Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City following her visit to Nicaragua, Amnesty International's Executive Deputy Secretary General, Kate Gilmore said:

'Nicaragua's ban of therapeutic abortion is a disgrace. It is a human rights scandal that ridicules medical science and distorts the law into a weapon against the provision of essential medical care to pregnant girls and women.'

'Nicaragua's Penal Code is a callous and cynical artefact of the political wheeling and dealing that took place in the country's 2006 elections. Today, however, it punishes women and girl children for seeking life saving medical treatment and doctors for providing it.'

Amnesty International delegates have met with young girls who, having been subjected to sexual violence at the hands of close family members or friends, were compelled to carry the resulting pregnancies to term -giving birth in many instances to their own brothers or sisters - because they were denied access to alternatives. It is deeply troubling that there was a recorded rise in pregnant teenagers committing suicide by consuming poison in 2008. THe question also has to be asked why is incest not being dealt with seriously in Nicuragua?

Obstetricians, gynaecologists and family doctors in Nicaragua told Amnesty International that under this Penal Code they can no longer legally provide effective medical treatment for life threatening diseases in pregnant women and girls because of the potential risk to the foetus.

One doctor told Amnesty International that she prays she will not receive a patient with an anencephalic pregnancy (a condition which means the foetus cannot survive) because of the prospect of telling the woman she will be compelled to carry the pregnancy to full term, despite its devastating physiological and psychological impact on the woman.

Kate Gilmore said:

'There's only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua: sheer horror.

'Children are being compelled to bear children. Pregnant women are being denied essential including life saving medical care.'

'What alternatives is this government offering a ten-year-old pregnant as a result of rape? And to a cancer sufferer who is denied life saving treatment just because she is pregnant, while she has other children waiting at home?

'Girls pregnant as a result of incest had the courage to meet with us to speak out against the situation but President Ortega did not. It appears the Nicaraguan authorities could not stand up for the law, would not be accountable for the law nor commit themselves to its urgent repeal.'

So how come the government can enforce their monstrous penal code which tortures and murders women and girls but cannot seem to enforce a penal code against incest and rape?

Amnesty International is urging the Nicaraguan authorities to:

  • Immediately repeal the law that bans all forms of abortion.
  • Guarantee safe and accessible abortion services for rape victims and women whose lives or health would be at risk from the continuation of pregnancy.
  • Protect the freedom of speech of those who speak out against the law and offer comprehensive support to the women and girls affected by the law.

    Amnesty International is also calling on Nicaragua's Supreme Court to issue a decision on the legality and constitutionality of the law as a matter of the utmost urgency.

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