By Gudrun Schultz

MANAGUA, Nicaragua, October 12, 2006 ( – A pro-life demonstration of more than 10,000 people in the country’s capital has influenced National Assembly leader Rene Nuñez, with the Sandinista Party, to sponsor legislation that would ban all abortions in the country, the Catholic News Agency reported yesterday.

“Together with the bishops and the Catholic Church of Nicaragua and with the pastors of the evangelical church, we commit ourselves to seeking out the quickest way to do so, which in this case would be the reform of the current Penal Code,” Nuñez said.

The announcement marks a policy turn-around for the Sandinista Party, which supported abortion during the recent political campaign.

The pro-life demonstration was organized in opposition to a proposed bill that would alter the Constitution to permit greater access to “therapeutic abortion.” The measure is still before the National Assembly, according to Nuñez. Under current Nicaraguan law, “therapeutic abortions” are permitted only to save the life of the mother.

Archbishop of Managua Leopoldo Brenes led the demonstrations, together with several Protestant pastors.

“Therapeutic abortion is a door through which abortion could be legalized in Nicaragua, as has unfortunately happened in other countries,” said Msgr. Miguel Mantica, bishops’ vicar for clergy formation.

Efforts to increase abortion access in the country have been fuelled by feminist organizations, including the “Red de Mujeres Contra la Violencia” (Women’s Network Against Violence) who used the highly publicized case of a nine-year-old girl made pregnant by rape in 2003 to push for changes to the law. The child eventually underwent an abortion despite the illegality of the procedure.

See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Nicaragua Congress to Debate Legalizing Abortion