A woman’s right is a human right


Abortion has again hit the news in Nicaragua. Revelations appeared over the past week in El Nuevo Diario concerning Rosita. She became famous when she became pregnant aged nine, raped by her neighbour whilst living in Costa Rica with her mother and step-father, who were migrant workers. She was dramatically whisked out of Costa Rica, to receive a therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua. The gruelling tale was captured by a documentary crew, whose film Rosita was shown around the world. Envio, Nicaragua’s leading journal, devoted several articles to the issues – political, ethical and religious – in a sensitive and serious manner.

When therapeutic abortion was banned by the Nicaraguan government in October, shortly before the elections, the case of Rosita was held up as one of the cases in favour of maintaining access to abortion. The campaign for putting it back on the statute books has received a blow with the recent articles, which says that Rosita was raped not by her Costa Rican neighbour but by her step-father; that she was eleven when the rape happened and not nine; and that she has now, in her teens, had a baby by the step-father. He is now on the run, and it is claimed that Rosita’s whereabouts are known by the Nicaraguan Network of Women against Violence (a number of pro-life websites have carried the story – see lifesite as an example).

Why exactly being attacked by your step-father instead of a neighbour, at the age of eleven instead of nine, should undermine the case for therapeutic abortion is hard to fathom. Nicaragua has a high level of young pregnancies and abuse against girls and young women. The case for limited access to abortion is made on the reproductive health reality check blog, which outlines the current situation in Latin America.

The case against therapeutic abortion has been led by the heirarchy of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua (in alliance with the newer evangelical churches), who would head anyone’s list of ultra-reactionaries, both before, during and since the Revolution. Some Catholic organisations have already said they will leave Amnesty International, after its historic decision in Mexico over the weekend to support limited access to abortion as a human right. AI takes the view that if a woman’s health is threatened, either physically or psychologically, there should be access to limited abortion, a viewpoint which is shared by medical professional associations in Central America.


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