By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

GENEVA, February 9, 2010 ( – The United Nations’ “High Commission of Human Rights” (OHCHR) is urging Nicaragua to legalize “therapeutic” abortions, as well as abortions in rape and incest cases, according to the Mexican government news agency Notimex.

At a meeting of the Periodic Universal Examination of the OHCHR, Nicaragua was told by the Commission to “study the possibility of foreseeing exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion in therapeutic cases and in pregnancies brought about by rape and incest,” Notimex reported yesterday.

In addition to the United States, the OHCHR was reportedly joined by Mexico, Canada, Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, and France in urging Nicaragua to relax its protections for unborn children.

However, according to the Spanish news agency EFE, the government of Nicaragua responded with a strong defence of its pro-life position.

The new laws, which prohibit all direct abortions in Nicaragua, “are the result of the exercise of national sovereignty … it is not a religious issue,” said Ana Isabel Morales, Nicaragua’s Minister of State. “The majority of Nicaraguan citizens believe that the right to life is important, that abortion is not an appropriate method of birth control,” she added.

However, deviating from a completely pro-life position, Morales also said that “the real solution is prevention [of pregnancy] through the use of contraceptive methods.”

The OHCHR also reportedly cited the UN “Committee against Torture” which “expressed its profound concern over the general prohibition of abortion in the Penal Code” of Nicaragua, reflecting the increasingly common claim among pro-abortion organizations that prohibiting the procedure is a form of “torture.”

Also joining the chorus against Nicaragua were two international pro-abortion groups, “Amnesty International” and “Human Rights Watch,” which claim that women are dying in Nicaragua because they are not permitted to have abortions.

As LifeSiteNews reported in August of 2009, Amnesty International has distorted and manipulated statistics in order to create the impression of rising maternal mortality in Nicaragua following the implementation of the country’s abortion ban.

In reality, maternal mortality fell dramatically in the years following the 2006 legal reform, which prohibited all direct abortions.

Despite claims to the contrary by Amnesty and other pro-abortion organizations, the Nicaraguan government has repeatedly stated that life-saving medical procedures that could cause an indirect abortion are not prohibited under the law.