Sunday, October 27, 2013

Oh Yes, It Can Get Worse

What kind of abortion debate stems from this is up to you-- oh, let's not kid ourselves; there's rarely a debate of any kind down in the comments. But hopefully there's at least some consideration of the rights of the woman carrying the fetus. I could get into Wisconsin and the case here where one Alicia Beltran was forced by the state into a drug-treatment program despite passing a drug test, and where her fetus got legal representation while she herself was refused it. And that's certainly the case closer to home. But right off the bat in that linked article, it in turn relays the story of El Salvador.

Nina Lakhani of the BBC wrote this piece a week and a half ago, and if you haven't seen it, it's some pretty grim stuff. The way El Salvador runs things, the baby is expected to be carried to term and delivered healthy. No exceptions. No excuses. Period. Even if it's to save the life of the mother. If there is even so much as a miscarriage, the woman gets thrown in jail for murder, on the assumption that she must have intentionally induced the miscarriage somehow in order to not have to call it an abortion. The public hospitals are so keen on enforcing this, and so unwilling to give any benefit of the doubt or hear any kind of stories from the women- rape or deformed fetus included- that pregnant women have become simply too afraid to use them.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some 10-20% of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage, with many more likely due to occurring so early in the pregnancy that the woman doesn't even realize she's pregnant in the first place. With those kind of odds, one can understand why even a healthy woman with a healthy fetus might want to steer clear of the public hospital and resort to private healthcare.

The article lists Nicaragua, Chile, Honduras and the Dominican Republic as also disallowing the termination of a pregnancy under any circumstances, though Malta is in the same boat. An international rundown can be found here, in map form and in list form (PDF). You can go there and find a place where the abortion laws punch you personally in the eyeballs.

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