Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nicaraguan Activists Bid To Block Abortion Bill

Human rights activists in Nicaragua on Monday January 8th asked the Supreme Court to block a controversial law that bans abortions for rape victims and women who risk dying in childirth.

They urged the Central American nation's top court to declare the law, which was passed in Octoer and went into effect last year, as unconstitutional on grounds it violates 'fundamental rights and principles'.

Nicaraguan lawmakers approved the bill with support from two right-wing parties and leftist legislators from the Sandinista party of Daniel Ortega, the president elect who takes office on Wednesday.

Sandinista legislators backed the bill, also sought by Nicaragua's powerful Catholic Church, only a week before presidential elections to avoid alienating church leaders and religious voters.

It put Nicaragua alongside nations like Chile and El Salvador in imposing a blanket ban on abortions. Previously, abortions in Nicaragua were allowed for women who were victims of rape and incest or if their lives were in danger.

The Supreme Court, seen as free from political pressure, has no set date or time frame to rule on the case.

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