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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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  • merkin

    I think this Utah law is an attempt to separate the anti-abortion movement from its religious roots. As best I can tell it would make God guilty of murder for his part in miscarriages.

    • CStanley

      Merkin, you and the three people who liked your comment should try thinking a bit less sloppily. Because when you apply the exact logic to current murder laws, you’d have to say that currently God should be convicted of billions of murders.

      Of course, in actuality we have a concept of death by natural causes, which is exactly what would apply in the case of miscarriage.

      • merkin

        I intended the comment to be ironic, not substantive. Sorry.

  • woosey

    Not so Merkin. People with control issues need to believe there is *someone* to blame for every tragedy. Because that means they can avoid tragedy by just being vigilant. These are the same people who sue everyone in sight when things don’t go their way.

    • kathykattenburg

      Woosey, good point. I would advise all women of child-bearing age who don’t have enough self-control to refrain from having a miscarriage to move somewhere else where people are willing to put up with their irresponsibility.

  • JSpencer

    Great, maybe we can start using places like Nicaragua and Romania as role models for our brave new world. Nothing like a return to the dark ages – under the guise of morality of course. Dumb and dumber…

  • Axel Edgren

    Heh, first-trimester clumps of cells are incapable of containing anything approaching a legally human mind.

    It’s religion’s fault that we can’t do the only rational thing and protect first-trimester abortions constitutionally. That is why I hate religion – faulty ideologies at least give dissenters a chance to defeat them through reason, but religion is all about defining things and theology so that reason can’t even be applied. It’s all “mysterious ways” this and “Man’s fallibility of reason and empiricism” that. That’s cheating that is. Poor thinking creates suffering and weaker decisions in society, which accumulate to make things worse. Well, thoughts that are poor *and* religious are incapable of being stopped – humans are turned into dreadnoughts, massing together against women and LGBT people. Religion can never be trusted, only submitted to a ceasefire.

    Religious faith can not be held in good faith is what I am saying. If religious people get convinced that women have to be subjugated, that’s what is going to happen.

  • DLS

    “Merkin, you and the three people who liked your comment should try thinking a bit less sloppily”

    Such thinking, and the speaking (or writing, on here) will only become more frequently sloppy (assuming, to be generous, that it’s merely mistaken or negligent) once federal health care entitlements are extended to girls and women of child-bearing age. With that will naturally come the low tail of the bell curve.

    Hopefully, at least, not only will the current Dem health care “reform” overreach face eventual reasonable limits, but also that this time we’ll be spared some of the other failings, as exhibited here. (Don’t be surprised, though, if the House can’t resist such stooping before this year’s “reform” effort concludes.)

  • Leonidas

    Disagree with the law, but thats what happens when you have a fusion of socialism with a strongly Roman Catholic country.

  • DLS

    An absolute abortion ban isn’t being sought here in the USA. The problem here is 60s-radicalism-inherited extremism and radicalism which toxifies the subject of abortion here (and the Left on this subject).

    Pelosi in a press conference last week was fielding questions about abortion. Are her dippier Dem companions in the House going to make asses of themselves again and jeopardize health legislation?

    • Axel Edgren

      “An absolute abortion ban isn’t being sought here in the USA.”


      • redfish

        There are certainly people who believe in an absolute abortion ban, but they’re a small minority in the Republican party, despite what the platform says. Its only in the platform as a way to pander to one constituency. The majority of Republicans just support more moderate measures like further restrictions on third trimester abortions, or parental notification laws.

        The US actually has very liberal laws on abortion compared to other Western countries. In Sweden, for instance, after the 18th week, a pregnant mother is required to get permission from the National Board of Health and can only obtain an abortion if its decided that her health or the baby’s health is at risk. In France, the standard is 12 weeks.

        The Utah law doesn’t have all bad intentions behind it. It was created in reaction to a case in which a girl’s boyfriend beat her in the stomach in order to cause the miscarriage, and specifies intentional or knowingly reckless behavior on the part of the mother. Its not intended to criminalize what isn’t the mother’s fault. If the mother goes to an abortion doctor to terminate the pregnancy, its still legal. The law still has problems, because its vague, and also it defines the act as ‘homicide’, which is very stiff, and also worries defenders of Roe v. Wade because they’re uncertain how that will be read by courts.

        On that issue, most Republican opponents of Roe v. Wade don’t want an absolute ban on abortion, they just don’t agree that its the courts place to make that policy.

        Instead of getting hysterical about this, and claiming Utah wants to control women, people should recognize the good intentions behind the law and point out its problems.

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