Monday, April 10, 2006

"Forensic vagina inspectors"

This is positively chilling. The NY Times has a feature today, Pro-Life Nation, about abortion (or rather the lack of it) in El Salvador. The new South Dakota abortion law, subtitled "Let's see if we have enough Supreme Court judges under our belt to overturn Roe v. Wade," makes an exception for the life of the mother, but not for her health. It also doesn't criminalize getting an abortion, just providing one. El Salvador will put both the doctor and the woman in prison, possibly for up to 30 years. It not only makes no exception for the mother's health, but not even if the abortion is necessary to save her life. It's enshrined in Article I of their constitution.

Go read the article. It's an easy read, and it's important.

The array of exceptions that tend to exist even in countries where abortion is circumscribed — rape, incest, fetal malformation, life of the mother — don't apply in El Salvador... Abortion is now absolutely forbidden in every possible circumstance. No exceptions.

[El Salvador] has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus — the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor's office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women

The consequences for this are positively stunning. Not only does it mean that there is an active back-alley abortion trade, but women experiencing the inevitable complications are afraid to receive medical treatment because their doctors will report them to the police.

This insanity continues to the point where doctors can not even treat an ectopic pregnancy.

Unattended, the stuck fetus grows until the organ containing it ruptures. A simple operation can remove the fetus before the organ bursts. After a rupture, though, the situation can turn into a medical emergency.

According to Sara Vald├ęs, the director of the Hospital de Maternidad, women coming to her hospital with ectopic pregnancies cannot be operated on until fetal death or a rupture of the fallopian tube... She described the hospital's practice. "Once we determine that they have an ectopic pregnancy, we make sure they stay in the hospital," she said. The women are sent to the dispensary, where they receive a daily ultrasound to check the fetus. "If it's dead, we can operate," she said. "Before that, we can't." If there is a persistent fetal heartbeat, then they have to wait for the fallopian tube to rupture.

I'm not upset at this because it's a peculiar law in an exotic country. I'm upset because this is what the Republican Party wants to turn our country into.

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