Jesurgislac’s Journal

February 24, 2010

Pro-life is what they call themselves, part 3

A woman in Nicaragua is dying of cancer. She’s in hospital, and the doctors are withholding treatment, because if they treat her cancer they kill the fetus: ordinary practice in countries which do not have pro-life legislation would be for the woman to have an abortion so that she can receive the treatment which will save her life.

Depending how far advanced the pregnancy is, it’s possible a woman might choose to refrain from chemotherapy until an early delivery can give both herself and her baby half a chance: but pro-lifers are unwilling to allow women to make that choice. Of course, throughout most of the pregnancy, it would make no difference to “saving the fetus” if the woman chose to have an abortion followed by chemotherapy to save her life, or opted to die of cancer along with the fetus: the fetus is dead either way. Only the pro-lifers think it’s better for the woman to die too.

The government of Nicaragua acknowledges that according to their own official figures this ban on abortion has done nothing but raise the maternal death rate – and they also acknowledge that the maternal death rate is considerably underreported. The ban on abortion in Nicaragua is enforced by a jail sentence on the woman and on the person performing the abortion: if a woman dies as a result of an illegal abortion, her death is unlikely to be recorded as such.

The pro-life law in Nicaragua makes no distinction about whether preventing an abortion will actually do anything to save the fetus: abortion is illegal without exceptions. A woman can go into hospital with an ectopic pregnancy, or dying of eclampsia, and Nicaraguan law – pro-life to the bitter end – says that both she and the fetus must die.

The woman has been in hospital since 12th February. A government commission will report on whether she can receive treatment for her cancer on 1st March. Whether that will be too late to save her life makes no difference under Nicaragua’s pro-life legislation: there are no exceptions for the health and wellbeing of the woman carrying the fetus, not even during the stages of pregnancy when death of the woman means death of fetus. That’s pro-lifer reasoning for you in a nutshell.

Amalia isn’t unique except that her situation is getting international attention. Amalia will die because of pro-life ideas that her life is worthless – she is merely a use-till-broke incubator in their eyes. Her ten-year-old daughter will be left motherless, but why should pro-lifers give a damn about that, either?

Nicaragua has had this rigidly pro-life law since 2006: it is openly acknowledged that Daniel Ortega had the law changed as part of his systematic efforts to get the Catholic Church on his side. Women in this scenario were just in the way, and God in this view of religion is indifferent to or hates women. It’s an ugly view of Christianity that pro-lifers give.

If you believe that women are human and ought not to be treated as slaves, breeding animals, or incubators, there’s a full list of contacts at reality check who might be able to help before it’s too late… if it’s not already.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] isn’t an “ethical dilemma” even on the level of my last Pro-life is what they call themselves post: this wasn’t a situation where the pregnant woman might have been kept alive for long […]

    Pingback by Pro-life is what they call themselves, part 4 « Jesurgislac’s Journal — May 21, 2010 @ 11:52 am | Reply


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