Abortion becomes hot issue in Nicaraguan elections

.- A candidate for the presidency in Nicaragua has sparked a heated public debate after his public comments in support of therapeutic abortion.  Edmundo Jarquin of the Sandinista Renewal Party told reporters, this week, that he backs a proposed Penal Code reform that would allow abortion.

As the other presidential candidates rushed to assure the public they are pro-life, feminist leaders warned they would vote against any candidate that does not support the legalization of abortion.

Candidate Eden Pastora, who is a former guerilla leader, distanced himself from Jarquin saying, “This is a tough issue.  We should not get involved because this is a case of individual conscience before God, science, and one’s family,” he said.

Jose Antonio Alvarado of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party told reporters, “We are totally pro-life.  Every effort humanly possible must be made to save and respect the lives of our citizens.”

Eduardo Montealegre of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alianza said he supported the right to life and he recalled the experience of the birth of his daughter at only 26 weeks of gestation.  She will soon turn 18.

In October the Nicaraguan congress is expected to debate the proposed changes to the Penal Code that would allow for therapeutic abortion, but would punish those who cause “injury or illness that would seriously endanger the normal development of the unborn.”

Ana Maria Pizarro of the Autonomous Women’s Movement, told reporters that feminists are ready to vote against any candidates that do not support the legalization of abortion.

Rafael Cabrera, president of Nicaraguans for Life, noted that doctors have the obligation “to try to save life and cure the mother and the baby inasmuch as it is possible.”

“I would not vote for anyone who wants to kill the innocent, who wants to violate the right to life.  I would not vote for anybody who wants to destroy the lives of those who cannot defend themselves,” he stated.

Father Miguel Mantica, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Managua, underscored that “every candidate should be free to explain his ideas and should do so honestly, because it would be very negative to go around saying things that one does not believe, only for the purpose of gaining votes.”

“All people of good will and who have principles should defend life, and thus therapeutic abortion, which has opened the door to abortion on demand in other countries, must be opposed in the most open way,” Father Mantica said, adding that the Bishops of Nicaragua would be sending a letter to congress calling for the removal of abortion from the Penal Code.

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