Nicaraguan Bishops Join Abortion Debate
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ The Catholic church joined a public debate set off by an abortion performed on a 9-year-old rape victim, comparing the procedure to a bombing.
``Is there any difference between a bus full of passengers that receives the impact of a car bomb and a metallic instrument that impacts the maternal womb to suck out a fetus?″ the nation’s bishops asked in an open letter issued Monday night.
The document urged Nicaraguan congressmen to reject proposals to liberalize abortion laws in their Roman Catholic country, where abortion is illegal with few exceptions.
In Costa Rica, meanwhile, a public defender asked a court to release the 20-year-old man accused of raping the girl, identified as ``Rosa.″
Attorney General Julio Centeno said Monday his office is investigating whether a crime was committed when doctors performed the abortion last week. The Network of Women Against Violence said the abortion, performed at a clinic in Managua some 16 weeks after Rosa was raped in Costa Rica, was legal because it was carried out on doctors’ orders.
On Friday, Health Minister Lucia Salvo called the abortion ``a crime.″ On Sunday, Roman Catholic Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo said those who promoted and carried out the abortion were excommunicated.
Nicaragua’s congress, the National Assembly, plans to discuss modifications to the law, which bans abortions except where several doctors certify the mother’s life is in danger or the fetus is malformed and the husband or closest relatives approve.
``For the love of Jesus Christ, for the salvation you hope for and for the good of the nation, do not approve abortion under any motive or pretext,″ the bishops wrote.
The bishops condemned the idea of ``legalizing the abominable crime of abortion even disguised under supposed pseudo-humanitarian extenuating factors such as calling it therapeutic.″
In the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, meanwhile, public defender Vanessa Nunez asked a judge Monday to free 20-year-old farmworker Alex Barquero, arguing there was evidence he did not rape the child.
Nunez said a medical examination showed her client did not suffer from sexually transmitted diseases. A doctor who treated the girl has said she apparently was infected with a venereal disease by her attacker.