Among the articles in this week's edition of The New York Times Magazine is a study of the effects of the total abortion ban in El Salvador:


The portrait painted isn't pretty--and should be a warning to anyone who thinks "it can't happen here."

The total ban bars anyone from having an abortion, regardless of the circumstances--including rape, incest, or danger to the health of the mother. Penalties can be imposed for anyone involved in the abortion, including both the provider and the patient.

However, this has led to a three-tiered system: the rich can fly to a country where abortion is legal, and the poor have an underground system. Middle-class El Salvadorans, like middle-class Americans under Bush, get screwed.

A frightening part of the ban is that it's enshrined in the Constitution, and apparently requires doctors to place the life of the fetus over the life of the mother. This occurs even in cases like ectopic preganancies, where the fetus has no chance of reaching viability, and can cause severe injury to the mother if left untreated.

However, more importantly, the ban has also led to the creation of government machinery to investigate and prosecute cases of abortion. It's a sobering thought that if you require a hysterectomy, El Salvadoran law allows the government to seize your uterus as "evidence" to make sure that you haven't had an abortion performed.

It's a right-winger's dream come true--and it should be a shot across the bow as to what could happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Originally posted to lone1c on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 08:19 PM PDT.


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