Pope Francis recently made headlines when he announced that parish priests would be permitted to forgive women for abortions if they show “a contrite heart.” A positive step to be sure, but one which reveals the hard line the Church maintains, even under Francis, on the question of a woman’s right to choose. In Nicaragua, where abortion (even therapeutic abortion) has been illegal since 2007.
The 2007 law outlawing abortion was passed, in part, at the behest of Nicaragua’s Catholic and Evangelical churches. It rolled back all allowances for rape, incest, and the health of the mother, a regression which brought the country back into line with its neighbors. Now a local group, Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir, are using the Pope’s recent announcement as a springboard for the cause of therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua.
The women behind the protest movement are petitioning their government and the Catholic Church to reinstate therapeutic abortions for cases of rape, incest, health of the mother, and economic hardship. To restrict a woman’s choice is a violation of her rights as a human being. To outlaw even therapeutic exceptions is inhumane and barbaric.
We at the Quixote Center stand with the women of Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir.