Nicaraguan Woman's Death Called First Casualty of Total Abortion Ban
Many women’s rights advocates are arguing that the recently passed abortion ban in Nicaragua caused the death of a young woman experiencing complications with her pregnancy earlier this week. Jazmina Bojorge, who was about five months pregnant, arrived at a hospital complaining of a fever and abdominal pains and died 36 hours later, Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy reports. Due to a recently adopted abortion ban, all abortions are illegal in Nicaragua without exceptions for rape, incest, or cases when a woman’s life or health is endangered. Doctors and women would be punished with six years in prison for performing or receiving an illegal abortion.
Opponents of the abortion ban, including some doctors’ groups, are publicizing Bojorge’s death to bring attention to the consequences of the total ban. Juanita Jiminez of the Women’s Autonomous Movement of Nicaragua said, "It’s clear that the fear of punishment kept the doctors from doing what they needed to do to save [Bojorge] -- which was to abort the pregnancy immediately." Julie Cesar Flores, the director of the Fernando Velez Paiz Hospital where Bojorge died, is under investigation by medical authorities and has said that Bojorge’s death "has nothing to do with the abortion law," reports the Washington Post.
Nicaraguan leaders of the Roman Catholic Church pushed heavily for the passage of the recent abortion ban, Reuters reported in October. However, the spokesperson for the Managua archdiocese, Rev. Rolando Alvarez, has said that although the Church opposes abortions in most cases, including rape or a malformed fetus, the Church will try to encourage lawmakers to clarify that the elimination of therapeutic abortion should not stop doctors from saving a mother’s life if it is in danger, reports the Washington Post.
Media Resources: Washington Post 11/28/06; Boston Globe 11/26/06; Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report 11/28/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 10/27/06