Monday, 8 October 2007

Pro-life (as in, er, death)

Amnesty International's decision to endorse the decriminalisation of abortion when the woman's life is at stake or the foetus is the product of sexual violence has been attacked by religious fundamentalists, including, naturally, the gaggle of officially celibate old men in the Vatican. Maybe they should all go and live in the fabulously roman catholic Nicaragua, where a blanket ban on abortion has led to the deaths of at least 82 women since its introduction. You can find out more about this pernicious life-hating law and its effects here, in an article from today's Guardian. It starts like this:
María de Jesús González was a practical woman. A very poor single mother, the 28-year-old's home was a shack on a mountain near the town of Ocotal in Nicaragua. She made the best of it. The shack was spotless, the children scrubbed. She earned money by washing clothes in the river and making and selling tortillas.
That wasn't quite enough to feed her four young children and her elderly mother, so every few months González caught a bus to Managua, the capital, and slaved for a week washing and ironing clothes. The pay was three times better, about £2.60 a day, and by staying with two aunts she cut her costs. She would return to her hamlet with a little nest-egg in her purse. She bought herself one treat - a pair of red shoes - but she would leave them with her family in Managua, as they were no good on the mountain trails she had to go up to get home.

No abortion isn't the only thing the sex-obsessed geriatrics in the Vatican would like about Nicaragua. It's also the only country in Latin America with a law that prohibits gay sex. Article 204 of the Constitution imposes sentences of up to three years for sodomy. But you don't have to buttfuck to get into trouble; all you need to do is say you're gay and happy and you can be arrested. Oddly enough, according to Nicaraguan activist, Don Pato:

Article 204 is used as a tool to institutionalize child abuse where the many poor children and parents in this country dare not accuse the perpetrator. To accuse anyone a priest, teacher or not so wealthy land owners of male on male contact can equate to justifiable homicide in this place, and the accusing person can end up jail for libel. Nicaragua has the highest rate of underage sex abuse anywhere in Latin America.

Two laws, in other words, that strike directly at the poorest and most defenceless. As Tony Blair so famously said: I wonder what Jesus would have done.

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