Sunday, April 09, 2006

Christianists in the US are pushing for a government ban on all abortions. It is widely accepted that George Bush has put men on the Supreme Court who will take away a woman's right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not. Already one US state has passed a new total ban on abortion and others are moving in that direction --- especially Republican controlled states.

El Salvador is one nation where such a merger of theology and law is already in place. A woman in El Salvador who has an abortion can go to prison for up to 50 years. There are special police agencies that specifically investigate women and they even have forensic vagina inspectors. Rich women fly to Miami while poor women seek out the back-alley abortionist which often leads to complications. But if she goes to hospital due to those complications she can be arrested and end up handcuffed to the bed with a police guard until she can be imprisoned. Hospitals and physicians are forced to act as agents of the state and report any woman suspected of having an abortion.

The law says that every foetus is a human being from conception. So what does this mean? Consider women who have an ectopic pregnancy. The egg is fertised but is growing in the wrong spot. It will continue to grow until it causes damage to the mother. Before this happens the foetus needs to be removed. In El Salvador it can't be removed. They must wait until the foetus dies or until the fallopian tube is ruptured by it. It's easy to remove the foetus but to remove it is to risk the law. So they risk the woman's life by waiting.

The New York Times has an excellent article on the situation in El Salvador. It tells the story of one woman who had three children and was the only employed member of her family. When she got pregnant she had an abotion. The state took her away from her children and imprisoned her for 30 years. True this is a third world country. But American's should learn about what is happening there. If the Christianists in America get their way the situation in El Salvador will be America's future.

The photo above is of the minister Paul Hill, a "pro-life" advocate who received the death penalty for killing an abortion doctor, his body guard, and for attempting to kill the doctor's wife.