5 April 2007 Vol. 9 / No. 13
PRI is in the forefront of the fight in Latin America to protect Life. Carlos Polo reports that, if the people have anything to say about it, abortion will remain illegal south of the border.
Steven W. Mosher
Stopping the Abortion Juggernaut
After the partial legalization of abortion in Colombia, the international pro-death movement expected a domino effect throughout Latin America. Monica Roa, the Colombian front man for the Center for Reproductive Rights, hurriedly visited Argentina, Peru, and several other nations to propose legislation similar to that which passed in Columbia. Giddy from their success in Columbia, the international abortion groups had every expectation of subverting the legal protection of the unborn in country after country.
As usual, they underestimated the Central Americans, Nicaragua in particular. Nicaragua last year abolished the sole exception of "therapeutic abortion," and continues to move away from legalized abortion. Not only that, but its strong defense of Life is serving as the catalyst for renewed opposition throughout Latin America to abortion. The result is that the momentum has shifted, and the supposed domino effect is now occurring in the opposite direction. Just last month the Chilean Congress rejected a "therapeutic abortion" bill in record time.
The abortion lobby seems to expect long-established legal systems to simply collapse before their misinformation campaign. But this isn’t happening. Instead, they are increasing being defeated by a popular outcry.
Unlike Spain, where pro-choice health officials lied about women’s health issues, the prompt action of the Chilean Congress destroyed any opportunity for a pro-death PR campaign. Compare this with Columbia, where a slick PR campaign fooled the public into accepting cleverly worded pro-choice tenets long enough for pro-death legislation to be passed. But you can’t fool all the Latinos all of the time. The fact is, more and more citizens of Latin American countries are aware that they are being lied and manipulated on these issues, and are refusing to compromise. That’s why there is a reverse domino effect.
This reverse domino effect may also be affecting Latin American presidential elections, where two anti-American candidates, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, opposed to abortion and population control have been elected. The election of these Leftist populists has alarmed neighboring countries. There is no other explanation for the abysmal failure of candidates Lopez Obrador in Mexico and Ollanta Humala in Peru. In Peru, the open support for abortion was catastrophic for Humala’s cause.
The European Union and other donors are threatening to cut aid to the poor country of Nicaragua if abortion isn’t legalized. This shouldn’t surprise us, since it is the practice of the Left everywhere to abrogate democracy when it suits them. When that fails, they seek to overturn decisions made by elected legislators through unelected judges by filing a flurry of lawsuits.
The focal point of the current struggle is the Supreme Court of Nicaragua. Radical feminist organizations, in conjunction with IPAS (the principal entity behind the infamous hand-held suction abortion machine), have argued that the law abolishing “therapeutic abortions” is not constitutional. On March 8, pro-abortionists barraged the Nicaraguan judges with a mass media campaign. They held public meetings in the streets and published in two paid ads in La Prensa, the most important newspaper in Managua, the capital city. These meetings and ads featured the tired lie: Abortion must be legalized or women will die. One ad was paid for by the Inter-American Development Bank, a division of the World Bank, by the foreign aid ministries of the UK, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and by the embassies of Germany, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Iceland, Japan, Norway, China and Sweden. All this pressure on little Nicaragua because the people there value life.
But if their support of abortion was more insistent this time, it was also much more subtle. Their ad focused less on failed rhetoric about “reproductive rights” than on emphasizing the purported goal of “stopping violence against women.” Nicaragua’s total ban on abortion, La Prensa declared in another ad, was the real violence being committed against women. The “international” storm troopers also mentioned the CEDAW committee and their support for its recommendations to the state of Nicaragua on violence against women.
Pro-life forces massed at the Supreme Court on March 21. The judges in Nicaragua accepted, as is customary, testimony from the Catholic Church. Dr. Roberto Sanchez, a respected jurist who may himself soon join the Supreme Court, testified that the law that abolished “therapeutic abortion” did not violate any constitutional principle. Rather, he said, it corrected a contradiction between the Constitution and the Civil Code of Nicaragua, the latter of which asserts that unborn babies are persons and enjoy several explicit rights.
In other testimony, Dr. Rafael Cabrera completely debunked the argument of the pro-abortion feminists, that therapeutic abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother. Dr. Cabrera, gynecologist, presented a chart listing all the emergency medical situations that are used to claim that abortions are needed “to save women’s lives.” He explained each one in turn, clearly and convincingly demonstrating that a doctor with current technology is always able to offer his patients — born and unborn ones — the choice of life.
Dr. Erwin Rodriguez, a famous gynecologist whose students constitute the majority of practicing gynecologists in Nicaragua today, also presented testimony. At the end one of the judges, a well known pro-abortion feminist and unreconstructed Sandinista, asked Dr. Rodriguez about the “hard case” of terminal cancer. "Wasn’t an abortion necessary then" she asked him. Dr. Rodriguez showed that it was impossible for a woman to conceive in those circumstances.
All the while, the ordinary people of Nicaragua worry about the threat of international agencies and donor nations to cut off aid unless they sacrifice their little ones. How much does it cost to have sovereignty for a small Latin American country?
Carlos Polo is the President of PRI’s Latin American Effort.