Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Punish the Woman

Amanda Marcotte and Jill Filpovic have fascinating post on how the actions of the anti-choice movement have dire consequences for women. Short anser: the health of women is a nonissue to the Right to Lifers. It is hard for the movement to call themselves pro-life when they put women at risk.

Amanda links to a Slate article about how the Christian Right has successfully pressured states to not from vaccinating teen girls from cervical cancer. The Christian Right argues that the drug would promote promiscuity. It doesn't matter that they don't have scietific data to back this nonsense. They are going to claim it because the Christian Right is seriously hung up on sex. Nothing else explains abstinence-only education programs that teach bogus information that HIV can be transmitted from tears.

Jill gives attention to Nicaragua's hidious no abortions policy.

The law has also killed at least 82 women since its institution.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was a secular radical leftist. Now he is arm-twisting the legislature into institutionalizing a no abortion policy. He needs the backing of the Catholic Church to stay in power. Including, when the woman's life is at risk. María de Jesús González was denied an abortion because of the law.

What González did next was - when you understand what life in Nicaragua is like these days - utterly rational. She walked out of the hospital, past the obstetrics and gynaecological ward, past the clinics and pharmacies lining the avenues, packed her bag, kissed her aunts goodbye, and caught a bus back to her village. She summoned two neighbouring women - traditional healers - and requested that they terminate the pregnancy in her shack. Without anaesthetic or proper instruments it was more akin to mutilation than surgery, but González insisted. The haemhorraging was intense, and the agony can only be imagined. It was in vain. Maria died. "We heard there was a lot of blood, a lot of pain," says Esperanza Zeledon, 52, one of the Managua aunts.

González was not stupid and did not want to die. She knew her chance of surviving the butchery was small. But being a practical woman, she recognised it was her only chance, and took it. The story of why it was her only chance is an unfolding drama of religion, politics and power that has made Nicaragua a crucible in the global battle over abortion rights. This central American country has become the third country in the world, after Chile and El Salvador, to criminalise all abortions. It is a blanket ban. There are no exceptions for rape, incest, or life- or health-threatening pregnancies.

The fetus in Gonzalez's body was growing outside the womb. There was zero chance of a child being born. The complications put her at risk for internal bleeding. The law saved neither the fetus (which was beyond saving) or Gonzalez. There is nothing pro-life about that. The Nicaraguan government gave this woman a death sentence.

Side note: Amanda linked to my post on Karen Malec. It's worth reading and related to abortion issues.

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