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Posted by on Feb 27, 2010 in Breaking News | 12 comments

Abortion and Women’s Lives

I know that news about the earthquake in Chile and possible related tsunami in Hawaii has been dominating the news today (appropriately and justifiably so), but here is an article about another human tragedy taking place. However, unlike the human tragedies in Chile and potentially Hawaii, this one — which is happening because of Nicaragua’s draconian anti-abortion law — is entirely preventable:

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.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the enlightened state of Utah has enacted a law that allows pregnant women whose pregnancies end in miscarriage to be criminally prosecuted for illegal abortion. I wrote about this new law earlier in the week, and there was some uncertainty over whether the governor of Utah would sign it. As of this date, he has not yet done so, but according to (a youth advocacy group blog; h/t Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars), he is not expected to veto the bill — and even if he does, Utah’s legislature has veto-proof majorities in both houses.

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