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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Reproductive Health Matters
Title Should therapeutic abortion be legal in Nicaragua: the response of Nicaraguan obstetrician-gynaecologists
Author(s)
Volume 10
Issue 19
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 111-119
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12369313
Abstract
Abortion is legal in Nicaragua only to save the life of the woman. In 2002, amendments to the Penal Code to change the penalties for obtaining and providing illegal abortions and regulations on the authorisation of legal abortions are due to be debated in the legislature. In a context of extensive media coverage and debate between women's health and rights groups and a powerful movement to make all abortions illegal, medical professionals have also been effective in influencing law and policy. In May 2001, the Nicaraguan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology presented the results of a study of the views of 198 obstetrician–gynaecologists on pending legislation regulating therapeutic abortion and the medical and ethical implications of providing therapeutic abortion services. All but nine of the 198 participants in the study, who comprised 76% of all registered obstetrician–gynaecologists in Nicaragua, believed that therapeutic abortion should not be criminalised and over 90% believed that there were cases in which therapeutic abortion was necessary to save women's lives. Some also supported legislative reform to allow abortion in cases of rape and fetal malformation. These results countered claims by the Nicaraguan Medical Association (AMN), taken up by the Church and anti-abortion legislators and groups, that therapeutic abortion was no longer necessary due to modern medicine. The election of anti-abortion politicians to powerful positions in early 2002 has created a formidable challenge when the proposed revisions to the Penal Code are debated.

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