Hundreds of Nicaraguan women marched in Managua on Sept. 28 to demand that the government of President Daniel Ortega Saavedra veto a new law establishing a prison sentence of one to three years for anyone who performs any type of abortion, and one to two years for any woman who consents to the procedure. Calling for civil disobedience and chanting “They didn’t respect our lives, we won’t respect their laws,” the protesters marched to the headquarters of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which Ortega leads. The marchers, who carried coffins and images of crucified women, also protested in front of the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Assembly. The march was organized by the Autonomous Women’s Movement as part of the Day of the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean.
On Oct. 26, 2006, shortly before national elections, the National Assembly rushed through a ban on all abortions, changing the criminal code, which had previously allowed abortions when the mother’s life was at risk and in cases of rape and incest. On Sept. 13 this year the National Assembly, with the support of the 38 FSLN deputies, affirmed the change and set the criminal penalties. The FSLN had “betrayed its principles,” Feminist Movement leader Ana Maria Pizarro charged at the Sept. 28 march. The new law had already claimed a victim, according to Pizarro. A 25-year-old woman committed suicide on Sept. 25 after a women’s center told her they couldn’t perform an abortion; the young woman had been raped by her uncle. (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Sept. 28 from AP; El Nuevo Diario, Managua, Sept. 28 from EFE) [A similar mobilization against the abortion law was held in the spring. See WNU, June 10, 2007]
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 30