Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, II

Another woman has been allowed to die because of an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy which can never result in the fetus surviving):

Two weeks after Olga Reyes danced at her wedding, her bloated and disfigured body was laid to rest in an open coffin - the victim, her husband and some experts say, of Nicaragua's new no-exceptions ban on abortion.

Reyes, a 22-year-old law student, suffered an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus develops outside the uterus, cannot survive and causes bleeding that endangers the mother. But doctors seemed afraid to treat her because of the anti-abortion law, said husband Agustin Perez. By the time they took action, it was too late.

She went to a health center, was referred to a maternity hospital two hours away, and was then told to go back home for the night. With an ectopic pregnancy!

Read the whole article. Various authorities argue that physicians should act quickly and decisively in the cases of an ectopic pregnancy because there is no possibility of the fetus surviving. At the same time physicians are not actually told this, but fear that they will go to prison if they interfere. As one physician said:

"Many are thinking that instead of taking the risk, it is better to let a woman die," said Dr. Leonel Arguello, president of the Nicaraguan Society of General Medicine.

Indeed. Because the life of the fetus is of value. The life of the woman? Not so much.