Commentary by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MANAGUA, August 6, 2009 ( – “Amnesty International,” an organization that was once devoted to the protection of human rights, has issued a report filled with falsehoods and distortions in an attempt to smear the nation of Nicaragua for daring to protect unborn children from the brutality of abortion.

Although most Central American countries have similar legislation penalizing abortions, Nicaragua has provoked the wrath of the international abortion lobby by abolishing the exceptions formerly contained in its penal code for “therapeutic abortions”—a loose term that can be used by physicians to justify practically any abortion.

Amnesty International (AI), foaming at the mouth against the uppity Central American country for opposing its abortionist agenda, claims that Nicaragua has prohibited all abortions, including those that are caused by medical procedures that save the life of the mother, which is an utter falsehood. 

The leadership of Nicaragua has repeatedly made clear that the existing medical code will be respected, which allows lifesaving treatments that could indirectly cause an abortion.  But facts and truth are the first casualties in the war against the right to life.  Apparently AI will stop at nothing to pressure Nicaragua to change its law, including the manufacturing of evidence.

Report Filled with Errors

The prevarications of AI against Nicaragua have been compiled into a report, entitled “The Total Abortion Ban in Nicaragua,” which not only makes the erroneous claim that women are being denied access to lifesaving treatments, but even falsifies the date of the criminal code's change, in an apparent attempt to cover up the fact that maternal mortality actually fell in 2007, the year after the exceptions in the penal code for “therapeutic abortions” were abolished.
Instead, the report fixes the date that the reform “fully” went into effect as July 9, 2008, and then compares the current rate of maternal mortality with that of last year, to get a 10% increase.  It would be clever if it weren't for the fact that the whole world knows “therapeutic abortions” began to be criminally penalized in 2006.  In the following year, the pregnancy-related maternal mortality rate fell by 10%, a fact that Amnesty doesn't mention.

However, the effrontery of AI doesn't stop there.  While simultaneously claiming the criminal penalties did not “fully” go into effect until 2008, the organization claims that 12 women have died whose lives could have been saved by abortions, citing a report by the pro-abortion group Ipas that was finished before Amnesty says the legislation came into effect!

What's more, the same Ipas report doesn't claim 12 women could have been saved if abortion had been available, as AI says.  It only speculates that “at least 12 [maternal deaths] could be related to previous pathologies aggravated by the pregnancy, that having had the option of a therapeutic abortion, their possibility of improving and/or recovering their health and life might have increased in great measure” (p. 8, in Spanish).

Perhaps Amnesty was desperate for an incriminating body count.  After all, it wasn't able to produce the name of a single woman who has died in connection with the law, nor a single person who has been prosecuted, although it claims the whole country is gripped by fear due to the existence of the legislation.

To top off its selective use of facts, AI mentions several Nicaraguan medical associations that have denounced the new legislation, but doesn't mention that the president of the Nicaraguan Medical Association has openly defended it.  Relevant facts seem to slip the mind of Amnesty's pro-abortion leadership.

The True Motive for the Ban

AI also fails to mention one of the most important motivating events for Nicaragua's new legal code, which was the manipulation of the case of a nine-year-old girl, called “Rosita” by the media, who was raped and impregnated in 2002.

Claiming that “Rosita's” life was in danger, despite medical assessments to the contrary, the pro-abortion group Ipas' Central American leader, Marta Maria Blandon, absconded with “Rosita” to Nicaragua, where the child received an abortion, with the enthusiastic support of her stepfather. The abortion was carried out based on the claim that it was “therapeutic,” with the three signatures necessary under the law at that time.

The Nicaraguan people were outraged—and with good reason.  Radical feminist groups had defied physicians and had terminated the life of an innocent unborn child to promote their political agenda. 

Moreover, the abortion had eliminated the evidence of the crime, the DNA of the fetus which could have proven who the real rapist was.  Several years later, when Rosita became pregnant again, the truth came out: her stepfather was the culprit.  Nicaragua's pro-abortion feminist movement had helped a child molester hide his continuing abuse of his stepdaughter for years, while a Costa Rican man falsely accused by the family was languishing in prison.

Following the killing of Rosita's unborn child, the Nicaraguan people, led by the authorities of the Catholic Church and various protestant denominations, demanded that the “therapeutic abortion” exceptions be removed from the criminal code, which occurred three years later. 

Ironically, the same group whose leader helped to obtain the abortion for Rosita, Ipas, supplied the figure of 12 “possible” deaths due to the law, as well as one of the photographs, used by Amnesty's report.

Ipas' leadership was also involved in the fabricated case of a woman in Nicaragua who was supposedly in jail for a first trimester abortion.  They deceived even the New York Times, which was forced to retract the story after LifeSiteNews exposed the truth: that the woman had given birth in the later stages of pregnancy and had murdered her child outside of the womb.

It is obvious that AI has low standards for its data sources, but when one is advocating the legalized murder of the most innocent among us, one takes what one can get.

Amnesty Defends Report's Errors

When I confronted Kate Gilmore, Deputy General Secretary of Amnesty International, with the contradictions and errors in her report earlier this week in a telephone interview, she steadfastly defended them.

Gilmore claims that, despite the public statements of the Nicaraguan government, the law actually does prohibit abortions caused by life-saving treatments. Apparently she knows the law better than Nicaragua's president and health minister.

She also insists that the criminal penalties went into effect in 2008, despite the fact that the Washington Post, the BBC, the pro-abortion “Human Rights Watch,” and the Nicaraguan media have reported that the law nullifying the exemptions for “therapeutic abortions” was signed by Nicaragua's president in 2006.  Even the fanatically pro-abortion Ipas says the penalties came into effect at that time. But Gilmore assured me that her legal advisers know better. Who is she kidding?

During the interview, Gilmore reaffirmed Amnesty International's claim, made in the report, that it is “torture” to deny women a “therapeutic abortion.” When I asked her if AI considers it “torture” to tear a baby's head, arms, and legs off its body, which is what happens during a vacuum aspiration abortion, she repeatedly refused to answer.

Amnesty's New Pro-Abortion Agenda

Although Amnesty International was once neutral on the issue of abortion, in 2007 it announced that it would now treat the killing of unborn children as a “human right,” transforming the organization into one of the most aggressive advocates of the “culture of death” worldwide.

In its new role as an abortionist organization, AI is confronted with the same problem that the rest of the movement faces: morality and science are against them.  It should therefore surprise no one that Amnesty has adopted the deceptive tactics of “Planned Parenthood” and other international pro-abortion groups, mischaracterizing the evidence to fit their political agenda.

For example, the organization was involved in 2008 in the exploitation of the “Agata” case in Poland, in which Amnesty claimed that a teenager who was raped was supposedly denied access to abortion by several hospitals despite her desire for an abortion, and pressured by pro-life groups not to have one.

However according to the author of a new book on the subject, “Agata: The Anatomy of Manipulation,” the girl had not been raped, but had become pregnant through consensual sexual intercourse with her boyfriend.  Moreover, she wanted to keep the child, but was pressured to have the abortion by her mother and various pro-abortion organizations. The hospitals only refused to do the abortion because she repeatedly canceled her appointments, indicating her own indecision. Her contact with pro-life groups was restricted to some text messages on her cell phone encouraging her to keep the child.

The Damaging Impact of Amnesty's International Pro-Abortion Campaign

Amnesty's campaigning for abortion is having a serious global impact.  After insisting that the Mexican government mandate abortions in rape cases earlier this year, the country's health minister revised its protocol (NOM 046) to require public hospitals to carry out surgical abortions and distribute the abortifacient “morning after pill.”

Now, AI is lambasting Mexican states that have dared to respond to such pressure by passing pro-life amendments to their constitutions to protect the unborn.

With a claimed membership of over two million people, and an influential voice at the United Nations and the international level generally, Amnesty International has become one of the heavy hitters for the international abortion lobby and the “culture of death.”

With the information below, you can urge the Nicaraguan authorities to resist the dishonest tactics of Amnesty International, and continue to protect the right to life. You can also let Amnesty know what you think of their betrayal of the cause of human rights.  The first right of all is the right to life.  In attacking this right, AI is subverting the very foundations of law and morality, and preaching a false liberation that harms women, as well as their innocent unborn children.

Contact Information:

Daniel Ortega Saavedra
Presidente de la República (President of the Republic of Nicaragua)
Reparto El Carmen
Costado oeste del Parque El Carmen
Managua, Nicaragua
Fax: +505 2266 3102

Ing. René Núñez Téllez
Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional (President of the National Assembly)
Asamblea Nacional de la República
de Nicaragua (National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua)
Avenida Bolívar, Apto. Postal 4659
Managua, Nicaragua
Fax: +505 2228-3039 (say “tono de
fax, por favor”)

Amnesty International
Email: [email protected] (address to Kate Gilmore)
Telephone: +44-20-74135500 (ask for Kate Gilmore or Josefina Salomon)
Fax number: +44-20-79561157 (address to Kate Gilmore)
1 Easton Street