On Wednesday Nicaragua’s National Assembly rejected a proposal for the third time to legalize therapeutic abortion again in the country’s new Penal Code, which lawmakers finished discussing after a year of debate.
The latest attempt was led by the Sandinista Renewal Movement to get lawmakers to remove the sanctions against abortion from the Penal Code. Abortion supporters sought to create an exception in the law for abortion in cases of life of the mother.
The proposal was rejected by an overwhelming number of lawmakers, and the vote buried any chance of overturning the law that was passed in 2006.
The new code punished those who practice or consent to an abortion with up to three years in prison. It will take effect two months after it has been published in the Nicaraguan daily “La Gaceta.”
According to Carlos Polo, director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, “The international abortion lobby has lost an important battle despite all the pressure. This was the third and last attempt within the Penal Code to introduce a measure that would protect abortion. The two previous attempts ended with an overwhelming vote against abortion.”
“This has been a long pro-life battle,” Polo continued. “To these three attempts we must add the anti-life campaign lasting more than a year and lawsuits before the Supreme Court challenging its constitutionality were unsuccessful.” He said the victory was due to the efforts by non-governmental organizations and by the Catholic laity. “Today in Nicaragua, fewer women die than what is reported by the official statistics of Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health.”