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Ahead of general election, Nicaraguan archdiocese urges that abortion not be an election issue

Nicaragua flag Credit railway fx Shutterstock CNA Nicaragua flag./ railway fx / Shutterstock.

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua stated Thursday that the "abominable crime" of abortion should not be on the agenda for November’s Nicaraguan general election.

“Abortion is an abominable crime that builds the culture of death … Let us remember that abortion should not be an election issue because human life is not negotiable, but rather should be defended and promoted,” the commission said May 13.

In Nicaragua, abortion of any kind is not allowed since the National Assembly reformed the Penal Code in 2006 and penalized so-called therapeutic abortion, which had been permitted since 1891 in cases of risk to the life of the mother, irreversible harms to the child, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Elections in Nicaragua for president and members of the National Assembly, as well as members of the Central American Parliament, will be held Nov. 7. 

According to a May 13  EFE news agency report, a presidential candidate for the opposition, George Henríquez Cayasso, said the opposition in Nicaragua is divided on such issues  as “abortion, sexual diversity, feminism, gay marriage or the Christian faith” which “makes a broad coalition for the elections difficult.”

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua made it clear that “in the face of current trends in support of abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, it is  appropriate to remember that the right to life is the first of human rights , and that from the moment of conception there is a child, a human being who has the right to live.”

The commission also explained that "human rights are not ‘religious matters,’ but rights inherent to human nature, which is not a concession or gift given by the state."

"These rights begin with the right to life, therefore, induced abortion is a crime and violation of the fundamental right to life on which all other rights are based," the commission stressed.

As for the position that Christians should take, the commission reminded that “we must be faithful to the sacred commandments of God who tells us clearly and unequivocally 'you shall not kill.’”

“We are called to defend the lives of all, especially the weakest, the first of whom are unborn children who exist as persons in their mother's womb.”

Finally, the Justice and Peace Commission prayed that in Nicaragua "the mother’s womb would be the safest place for unborn children, and the family would also be the safest place for those whose life is diminished or weakened."

"United to the intentions of the Holy Father, we pray through the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the end of the pandemic," the commission concluded.

Protests against President Daniel Ortega in recent years have led to tensions between some Catholics and supporters of the president, who previously led the country for over a decade after the Sandinistas’ 1979 ouster of the Somoza dictatorship. Ortega has again been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014. Ortega’s wife, First Lady Rosario Murillo, is also vice president.

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Ortega’s government has accused many bishops and priests of siding with the opposition.

Backers of Ortega have led actions against some churches.

The protests are part of a crisis which began in April 2018 after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces.

Security forces have killed at least 320 protesters, with hundreds more arrested.

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