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  •  The phrase "forensic vagina inspector" appears (1+ / 0-)
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    ontheleftcoast

    in this article on the consequences of El Salvador's anti-abortion laws. After the civil war, they entirely rewrote their criminal laws and abortion became illegal without any exception. Not only that, but they instituted stiff criminal penalties and an enforcement apparatus, "the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor's office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating" women who have had abortions.

    As the nation turned away from its violent years, there were calls from both sides of the political divide that it was time to re-examine certain social issues. One of them was abortion. The country's abortion law, like the law in most Latin American countries at the time, was already a near-ban with only a few exceptions, specifically in cases of rape, serious fetal malformation and grave risk to the mother's life. For decades, the law was rarely discussed, and enforced quietly and somewhat subjectively. Once the issue was raised in the political arena, though, Salvadorans discovered that a brand-new kind of discourse on abortion had emerged in Latin America.
    There are some very important lessons I think we can take away from that article.

    First, the ban was heavily pushed by the church which felt it should take a more active role and that was part of the church pushing for a more conservative agenda.

    People supporting the ban insisted that there was no need for exceptions for the life of the mother because medically technology had made that unnecessary.

    •  Sorry, my computer flaked out in the middle of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schnecke21, ontheleftcoast

      writing the comment.

      In 1997, they passed a law banning all abortions.

      "But that was not enough," de Cardenal later wrote in an article recounting the victory. In 1997, her foundation also proposed a constitutional amendment that would recognize the government's duty to protect life from the time of conception.
      It is also important to note that they played up some of the emotional aspects of pregnancy. They had two pregnant women have ultrasounds performed on their fetuses before the national assembly. They declared the Feast of the Holy Innocents be a day to remember the unborn.
      The legislative battle and its outcome did not escape the attention of leaders of anti-abortion groups in the United States. Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the head of Human Life International, based in Virginia, is intimately familiar with the campaign in El Salvador and says that there are lessons for Americans to learn from it.
      The article goes on the describe an underground network for women seeking abortions.

      The article then explains the procedure for investigating cases where a woman is suspected of having had an abortion. Doctor are require to report women they suspect have had an abortion. Nurses are also expect to report and doctors are afraid that nurses will report them for not reporting. "The entire system is run on fear."

      The law also has the result of discouraging women from seeking gynological care.

      A policy that criminalizes all abortions has a flip side. It appears to mandate that the full force of the medical team must tend toward saving the fetus under any circumstances. This notion can lead to some dangerous practices.
      They do not operate on ectopic pregnancies until the fallopian tube is ruptured.

      Sometimes women are prosecuted for aggravated homocide that has a minimum penalty of thirty years, as opposed to two years for an abortion.

      The entire article is worth reading if you have access to the New York Times. I read it when it was first published. At the time, it seemed like something happening in a far away place with a different, more religious, culture. Rereading it just now, it looks entirely different.

      This is the future the conservatives want for the women of America. It doesn't matter how much they try to sugar coat it. They want a world in which a women will be handcuffed to her hospital bed and have her uterus declared a crime scene while investigators interview relatives, neighbors and co-workers about the woman's personal life. Doctors become the enemy.

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