Nicaragua: New abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk
In December, one month after Congress enacted the ban during a hotly contested presidential election, the Ministry of Health responded by issuing detailed mandatory protocols on emergency obstetric care, including guidelines for medical treatment after illegal abortions. Ministry officials admit that they have received complaints of delay or denial of health services since the ban was implemented.
However, the report reveals that the President Daniel Ortega’s government so far has not studied the health effects of the ban on abortion. The government also does not appear to have investigated or sanctioned health professionals who do not implement the mandatory protocols.
“President Ortega should immediately help mitigate the disastrous effects of this ban by prioritizing pregnant women’s access to emergency medical care,” said Heimburger. “Nicaragua’s president needs to reassure women they will not be punished for trying to stay alive. At the same time, he should aggressively promote public awareness and access to services.”
Before this ban, Nicaragua’s penal code allowed abortions when a woman’s life was at risk. This new law intentionally denies women access to health services essential to saving their lives, and is thus inconsistent with Nicaragua’s obligations under international human rights law to ensure women’s right to life.
October 2, 2007
"A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it..."