That’s a savior?

El Salvador is not a safe country for women. The secretary general of Amnesty International reports:

Beneath the surface of apparent peace in El Salvador, a hidden war is being waged. It is a war that does not involve guns or troops but one that has resulted in the imprisonment and unnecessary deaths and disability of thousands.

It is a war against women and girls that is documented in Amnesty International’s newreport, On the Brink of Death: Violence against Women and the Abortion Ban in El Salvador.

The report illustrates how a change in the law 16 years ago criminalized abortion in all circumstances, making it one of the strictest abortion laws in the world. Women and girls in El Salvador cannot have an abortion, even if continuing their pregnancy might kill them, or if the fetus is not viable and will not live. 
Even a nine-year-old girl pregnant after from rape cannot get an abortion.

Just to make sure no opportunity is missed, miscarriages are treated as suspected abortions.

Consider the story of Cristina. She was 18 years old when she miscarried. She passed out and was rushed to hospital where, instead of care and kindness, she was accused of actively terminating her pregnancy. In August 2005, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Men also are fighting this injustice. Dennis Muñoz, a lawyer who heard Cristina’s story, was so shocked he tracked her down to the prison where she was being held.

Together they fought a two-year legal battle to get her sentence reduced. They won her release, but not before she had spent four years in prison. Muñoz describes the country’s abortion ban as a “witch hunt against poor women.”

(Unlike Dawkins and Shermer and Blackford, Muñoz is talking about something that really can be legitimately called a witch hunt.)

Amnesty International believes that El Salvador’s total ban on abortion is a form of torture. It pushes women and girls to the brink of death. The ban violates women’s and girls’ right to life by forcing them to seek unsafe abortions, putting their health and lives at risk. It also denies them their right to health, privacy and to non-discrimination.

It is a shame to see El Salvador so far behind the rest of the world in its legislation on abortion. It is one of seven Latin American countries with a ban on abortion in all cases.

The Vatican is happy though.



  1. Blanche Quizno says

    In the months leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election, the Republican party adopted a “no abortions under any circumstances” plank in its political platform. Here is the text:

    Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

    And the action taken:

    The Republican National Convention Platform has approved the “human life amendment,” which would ban abortion without exception for rape or incest.


  2. Eric MacDonald says

    The Roman Catholic Church’s so-called pro-life agenda is one of the most cruel, anti-life programs in existence in any of the churches. I won’t mention mosques, because they do Christianity several times better in the direction of evil. But the Roman Catholic Church and women are simply antipathetic if you simply glance at the way that the implementation of their rules regarding abortion create completely vicious regulations which make the lives of pregnant women who, for whatever reason, need a termination, a complete nightmare. This was brought up in a New York Times article eight years ago, and still the horror continues. Someone at the Guardian (I cannot now remember who) announced ominously a couple years ago that Roman Catholicism is not a religion for self respecting women. It is not. It is sad that this message has not become more generally known. The church is a complete swine when it comes to women, and, so far as I can see, the soft-shoe shuffle of Francis isn’t going to make any difference. He may pretend to be a progressive, but how can you be progressive in a regressive institution, in which regression is indelibly branded onto the whole fabric of the institution, from the beauties of the Sistine Chapel down to its completely inhuman treatment of women (and, I would add, since it’s one of my hobby horses, the dying). God rot the Roman Catholic Church! The NYT article is still accessible (I have a subscription for the time being, but it should be accessible here:)

    Francis is going to have to have a hell of a lot more power if he’s going to do any good, and this power, I’m afraid, will not be forthcoming. It is too invested in the disposability of women.

  3. Pen says

    I’m pretty sure the risk of miscarriage in confirmed pregnancies (after 6 weeks?) is over 10%. This would not be the first culture which vilified women for ‘allowing’ this to happen but it’s truly an evil thing to do, involving a potentially enormous number of victims.

  4. johnthedrunkard says

    This abject refusal to recognize how common miscarriage really is speaks volumes about the Invincible Ignorance that underlies catholic policies.

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