Monday, February 22, 2010

The Case of "Amelia" in León

I will be spending the next couple of posts discussing my final days in Nicaragua and special cases I heard along the way. This particular case is about a pregnant woman in León suffering from cancer that has spread through her whole body. Abortion was illegalized in Nicaragua in 2006 by the administration of Enrique Bolaños, in any and ALL cases. The doctors that advise women to receive an abortion, aid in an abortion, and anyone else involved can be fined and sentenced. This case has gained national attention in Nicaragua because the State has been put on the spot. Will they let this woman, "Amelia" whose real name has been hidden to protect her identity, die in the hospital in order to protect a full abortion ban or will the government overturn the full ban and allow some abortions to save her life?

The people who have been representing Amelia in the public and telling her story have been the doctors who are treating her. When I was walking to my Aunt Alina's house on Saturday morning I happened to stumble upon a protest being staged by the group "Feminists of León" in order to bring attention to Amelia's case. I was able to hold an interview with one of the activists at the protest. They created banners and stood outside of the Hospital handing out information on the case.

Amelia's cancer has spread through her entire body and she needs chemotherapy as soon as possible. Amelia's doctors have conceded that the cancer may not kill the fetus but the child would definitely be born with serious health defects. And chemo cannot be started without dealing with the question of the pregnancy, so for now her life hangs in the balance while the politics of reproductive freedom are fought in the halls of power in Nicaragua. This hasn't stopped anti-choice bloggers from claiming Amelia's case to be a hoax of the "international abortion lobby" but I recommend staying on top of the case on your own at El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa.


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