Wikileaks: Bush administration backed Nicaragua total abortion ban
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, September 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While the Obama administration has pushed Nicaragua to legalize abortion against the will of its people, leaked government cables show that the Bush administration supported the nation in its pro-life decisions. A senior official in President George W. Bush’s administration backed Nicaragua’s decision to institute a total ban on abortion, without any exceptions, in 2006, a new cable released by Wikileaks has revealed.
The U.S. Embassy cables, which Wikileaks released in full last month, included one marked as “confidential” by former Nicaraguan Ambassador Paul Trivelli, in which he reports on a private March 26, 2007 meeting between Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
In the April 17, 2007 cable, the ambassador explains that Ortega complained of the intense pressure his country had faced from European countries since his country passed its total ban on abortion in 2006.
In reply, “Leavitt offered Ortega the Administration’s full support for the Nicaraguan pro-life position, and thanked the President for his country’s stand on life and family issues at home and at United Nations fora,” the cable reads.
Ortega was accompanied by First Lady Rosario Murillo, Minister of Health Dr. Maritza Cuan Machado, and Foreign Minister Samuel Santos. Leavitt was joined by Panama Minister of Health Camilo Alleyne, and Ambassador Trivelli.
Nicaragua’s 2006 abortion ban eliminated exceptions that had allowed abortions where the child was conceived in rape, or where three doctors certified that a woman’s “life or health” was at risk.
Ortega insisted in the meeting, however, that “no doctor would be prosecuted for saving the life of a patient.”
Before the ban passed, the country faced threats from numerous foreign governments that aid money would be withheld if it went forward.
In 2010, the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights urged Nicaragua to legalize so-called “therapeutic” abortions, and abortions in cases of rape and incest.
They were joined in this call by the United States, at this point under the Obama administration, as well as Mexico, Canada, Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, and France.
Ortega and other senior government officials have defended the law despite foreign pressure, insisting that 80% of Nicaraguans oppose abortion.