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NICARAGUA
Abortion ban leads to deaths
Latinamerica Press
10/18/2007
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The ban on therapeutic abortion that has been in place since November of last year has had a devastating impact on women’s lives and health, said the New York-based Human Rights Watch organization in a statement.

Eighty pregnant women have died since the law took affect almost a year ago, said Angela Heimburger, a researcher for Human Rights Watch upon presenting the report “Over Their Dead Bodies: Denial of Access to Emergency Obstetric Care and Therapeutic Abortion in Nicaragua” on Oct. 2.

On Oct. 26, 2006, an article in the Penal Code dating back to 1893 that allowed therapeutic abortion when a women’s life was in danger, or in cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation, was struck down by the legislature just days before general elections.

The new article establishes prison sentences of four to eight years for a woman who has a therapeutic abortion and for the person who performs it.

Even though the Health Ministry had released detailed obligatory protocols for gynecological emergencies, including medical treatment after miscarriages or induced abortions, Human Rights Watch found that doctors are afraid to act, fearing being performing against the law, which has caused the deaths of numerous pregnant women.


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