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Excommunication falls upon pro-abortionists. (News in Brief: Nicaragua).

Costa Rica--In February, Rosa the 9-year-old daughter of an impoverished Nicaraguan migrant worker in neighbouring Costa Rica, was found to be pregnant. A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of raping her. When hospital officials in Costa Rica seemed to oppose an abortion, the girl's family brought her home with help from the Women's Network Against Violence and sought permission for an abortion there.

In Nicaragua, Catholic teaching is taken seriously and few pregnancies are ended legally. The law permits only vaguely defined "therapeutic abortions." But the idea of a 9-year-old giving birth shocked many Nicaraguans. "I have never seen this country debating in the way it did," said Dr. Ana Maria Pizarro, a gynaecologist who directs a women's health centre. Television and radio stations were bombarded with calls from opponents and supporters of an abortion for the girl.

The Vatican intervened directly in the case; a letter dated February 21 was sent to Church officials in Nicaragua encouraging them to provide support to the child and her family, while reminding them that the unborn child was innocent and deserving of the right to life. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, wrote that not even the painful circumstances of this case could justify the deliberate elimination of an innocent human being.

After doctors had stated that the child's health would be equally at risk with an abortion as with giving birth, the Church warned that anyone who participated in the girl's abortion would be ipso facto excommunicated. Feminist groups in Spain and Nicaragua launched an offensive against the Church over its offer to assist the girl to keep her child.

Groups in Spain collected over 35,000 names of people who said that they had contributed actively in making the abortion of Rosa possible. The names were submitted to Catholic authorities in Nicaragua and the Vatican, demanding that they all be excommunicated as well as the abortionists involved in the act. There were reports that the Vatican had withdrawn its threat of excommunication as the result of the protest; however Nicaraguan Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo said that "it's not that I'm going to excommunicate them, but that (the canonical sentence of excommunication) falls upon them ipso facto."

As officials debated, the girl's parents removed her from a government hospital and on February 20, the Women's Network announced that she had had an abortion.

Health Minister Lucia Salvo, who had opposed the abortion, resigned on March 13, complaining that President Enrique Bolanos did not support her in a dispute with her own deputies over the issue. The nation's Catholic bishops issued an open letter comparing abortion to the bus bombs of terrorists. Their main goal was to dissuade Nicaragua's congress, which is examining the abortion law, from making abortions easier to get.

Msgr. Jorge Solorzano, speaking for the Church, said: "This has opened the door to the slaughterhouse." The Toronto Star quoted Dr. Pizarro, who directs the Si Mujeer health centre, as citing a government study of 1996, which estimated that 36,000 abortions are performed annually in this country of five million people. She said that studies in the 1980s found that unsafe, illegal abortions were among the leading causes of death for Nicaraguan women.

Comment: Pro-abortionists, in all countries, have a history of pulling statistics out of a hat where it concerns "illegal" abortions. No faith is to be put in them. Meanwhile, a bitter conflict is underway in Nicaragua.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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