NEW YORK - October 27 - The congressional vote which today
eliminated all exceptions to the general penalization of abortion in
Nicaragua constitutes a direct threat to human rights, said Human Rights
Watch. The new penal code penalizes abortion even when it is carried out
to save the pregnant woman's life, or when the pregnancy is the result of
rape or incest.
"The new penal code doesn't just go against basic human rights: it goes
against fundamental principles of humanity," said Josť Miguel Vivanco,
director of Human Rights Watch's Americas Division. "Human Rights
Watch knows from experience what it generally means to be pregnant as
the result of rape, or to have an unsafe abortion: misery, desperation, and
even the death of the pregnant woman."
The reform has been criticized by international institutions, including
United Nations agencies, for taking place in a politicized environment,
since the vote happened on the eve of the presidential elections in
Nicaragua, scheduled for November 5.
"Women shouldn't go to prison for having abortions, it's that simple. And
even less should they have to risk their lives because of complications
during pregnancy", dijo Vivanco. "But instead of protecting the rights of
the citizens they represent, the political parties have used women's bodies
as electoral battle ground."
For more of Human Rights Watch's work on Women's Rights, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/women/