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May 30 2013

Left and right, unite and fight…women

Katha Pollitt on El Salvador’s way with pregnant women.

Since 1998, El Salvador has had a complete no-exceptions ban on abortion,  promoted by the country’s powerful Catholic Church and passed with the votes of  legislators from the former left-wing movement FMLN—because if there’s one thing  right and left agree on, it’s that women’s lives are less important than  achieving political power. (Daniel Ortega made the same move in Nicaragua in a  successful bid for church support.)

There’s nothing quite like being thrown overboard by people you thought were allies. The cold water comes as such a shock…

Since the ban, the Central American Women’s network reports that over 600  Salvadoran women have been imprisoned for having abortions, including  miscarriages and stillbirths suspected of being the result of abortion. A word  to the wise: when US abortion opponents insist they would never put women on  trial for terminating a pregnancy, be skeptical.

Oh, I am.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    stever

    > …because if there’s one thing right and left agree on, it’s that women’s lives are less important than
    > achieving political power.

    Not just women’s lives. The never-spoken Priority Zero of every government is the protection and expansion of its own power.

  2. 2
    Claire Ramsey

    This is such bad news. And yes, of course, any legislator who wants to make miscarriages into crimes would be happy to put a woman on trial for terminating a pregnancy. Indeed, I am sure there are men who are looking forward to it.

    Goddamn it.

  3. 3
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Cultural misognyist its very worst and most lethal and cruel.

    Petition to the Pope signed & shared – thanks Ophelia Benson.

    @stever (No connection!) :

    The never-spoken Priority Zero of every government is the protection and expansion of its own power.

    Its a whole other issue and topic really but I do not think this is always necessarily the case although exceptions (eg. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus ) are few and far between. Some politicians and political parties do genuinely try to govern in the best interests of everyone and for what they believe in rather than mere power for its own sake I think – and hope. There is such a thing as being too cynical although we should always be skeptical.

  4. 4
    Cathy W

    Good news – word is coming out that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (related to the Organization of American States, so binding on El Salvador) ordered El Salvador to provide Beatriz with whatever care is necessary to save her life, the Minister for Health (who was already in favor) signed off on it, and her doctors are moving with all speed (which I can’t help but think is “quick, before someone gets in and stops us”). I think they still have to figleaf the abortion by inducing labor and performing a C-section, but it’s better than nothing.

    Which is good. Because while the new pope is surprisingly willing to acknowledge the basic humanity of non-Catholics, I wouldn’t expect the petition to get much beyond “Pray to St. Gianna” as a response.

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