24 October 2006

[cross-posted from my livejournal, as usual. still trying to get a feel for blogger.]

this bbc article reports that nicaragua's legislature is considering banning all abortions. what this translates to is removing the “life of the mother” exception on its already-existing abortion ban. currently nicaragua, like el salvador, allows abortions only when it would save a pregnant woman's life; and el salvador is no fucking picnic. recent articles i've read, and this post at pandagon, about the law in el salvador report that when a pregnancy is discovered to be ectopic -- "in the wrong place," usually meaning located in a fallopian tube rather than in the uterus -- still nothing can be done until the threat to the woman's life crosses over from certain-and-impending into clear-and-present. what this means is that the pregnant woman is ordered bedrest, monitored daily and hourly until her fallopian tube ruptures, and only then operated upon to remove the now-dying fetus.

that is how doctors have to follow the law in el salvador, and i would not be surprised if the same law in nicaragua is yielding the same results; it's hard to get details because national studies report that legal abortions are rare, but they estimate that illegal abortions number 36,000 yearly and are one of the biggest causes of women's deaths. this is all bad enough, but what is devastating is that nicaragua is now considering doing away with even this one tiny concession to women's wellbeing. the new version of the law would not even pretend to consider women and their fetuses as being of equal value, which to me is already insulting enough and deadly enough. this new version would make the categorical statement that women are LESS important than the fetuses their bodies might support. i still find it absolutely incredible that ANYONE would seriously entertain such a blatantly woman-hating idea -- let alone that the congress will probably pass it, and one of its supporters is legislator daniel ortega (current leader of the leftist FSLN, the party of the 1979 revolution) is backing it. sometimes, reading the news makes me cry.

as if that wasn't bad enough, yesterday i read some more about it, and apparently the individual who provoked this consideration, starting in 2003, was a nine-year-old girl raped in costa rica, whose parents took her home to nicaragua to request an abortion at a government hospital. public handwringing ensued on the part of many of the country's ministers, half of whom announced their hope that the abortion would be refused; president bolanos, later accused by his health minister of not being sufficiently opposed to the abortion, convened a panel of medical experts, who issued an ambiguous ruling that acknowledged that a pregnancy might kill the girl. finally her parents withdrew her from the government hospital and she obtained an abortion elsewhere, whereupon the catholic bishops of nicaragua announced that "everyone involved with the abortion" was excommunicated. (and you know, i'm actually surprised; i thought the Church was at least better than this.) those who wanted this girl forced to carry the pregnancy to term effectively wanted her sentenced to death. you'd think the public furor would have been over the fact that nicaraguan children face trauma and possibly death thanks to adults raping them. but all that i read about this horrifying part of it was that "a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of raping her" -- but, as far as i could tell, neither excommunicated or nor threatened with death. god damn it.

i said, god damn it. what does it take, in this world, to be more valuable than the multiplying stem cells living off of your blood? in a case like this, not even a misty-eyed shout-out to "the innocence of children" can explain why a potential-mother should be less worthy than the non-sentient creature depending on her: this potential-mother was a child, and an already-born, living one at that, and yet this nine-year-old's right to stay alive caused furor in nicaragua, because it was not considered as important as the "right to life" of the "child" inside her. is a fetus truly more important than a nine-year-old because the latter has had nine years to sin? or did i miss something about "original sin"; does it not take up residence in your soul until the moment of birth?

or is it something to do with the tarnishing nature of sperm? anti-choice assholes tend to frame pregnancy as something that you shouldn't get a do-over on because you fucked up: you already made your choice and that was to have sex, you were a slut who couldn't keep her legs closed, you're irresponsible, you shouldn't be allowed to shirk your obligation now. but let's face it. when some assface raped this girl, she made no such "irresponsible" choice, and the catholic church still thinks she isn't worth saving. a spermed girl is a used up girl, and "sanctity of life" will not restore her hymen or her market value. cut your losses and save the pure, unborn seed of the child's rapist.

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