By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MANAGUA, August 4, 2009 ( – Amnesty International (AI) has launched an international campaign against the government of Nicaragua, claiming that its law protecting the unborn from abortion is “cruel,” and “cynical.”

“There is only one way to describe what we have seen in Nicaragua: a great horror,” said Kate Gilmore, Deputy Secretary General of AI, in a press conference held recently in Mexico.

“The prohibition of therapeutic of abortion in Nicaragua is a shame.  It is a human rights scandal that ridicules medical science and distorts the law, being a weapon against the provision of essential medical services for pregnant girls and women,” added Gilmore.

Nicaragua has provoked the ire of the international abortion lobby since 2006, when it voted to criminally penalize all abortions, although the law is not interpreted as applying to procedures to save a woman's life.  Despite heavy campaigning by internationally-funded groups in Nicaragua to overturn the law, it has continued to enjoy the support of the political establishment and the Nicaraguan people.

Amnesty has issued a new report to accompany its campaign, entitled “The Total Abortion Ban in Nicaragua,” which claims that the new law prohibits all abortions, even those procedures necessary to save a woman's life.

However, those claims are contradicted by repeated public statements by the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega and Nicaragua's Minister of Health Guillermo Gonzalez, who have stated that lifesaving treatments for pregnant women will not be penalized under the law. 

The report also claims that twelve women who died from pregnancy complications could have been saved by abortions, although the source it cites, a report by the pro-abortion group Ipas, offers no proof of the claim, and only speculates that “at least 12 [maternal deaths] could be related to previous pathologies aggravated by the pregnancy, which having had the option of a therapeutic abortion, their possibility of improving and/or recovering their health and life would have increased in great measure” (p.8, in Spanish).

AI's report claims that maternal mortality is up since the law was implemented, claiming that it only came into effect in late 2008.  However, the criminal penalties actually began in 2006, and pregnancy-related maternal mortality actually fell after the passage of the law, both of which are admitted by the same Ipas study cited by AI (also on page 8).

In a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews, Gilmore stood by the claims in her report, and affirmed that she regards the Nicaraguan law a form of “torture” against women.

Asked if it is torture to pull an infant's head off of its body, and its arms and legs out of its sockets, which happens during a standard aspiration abortion, Gilmore refused to answer the question.

Although Amnesty International was once neutral on the topic of abortion, in 2007 it announced it would change its position and begin to treat the killing of the unborn as a “human right,” despite the fact that International human rights agreements do not generally recognize such a “right.”

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Amnesty International Caught in “One Big Lie” 

Amnesty Again Agitates for Abortion – This Time in Peru 

Amnesty International Demands that Mexico Force Doctors to Do Abortions 

It's Official – Amnesty International is Now An Abortion Lobby Group – Catholics Boycott