PBS shines light on harsh Salvadoran anti-abortion law

PBS ran a news story this week describing El Salvador's severe anti-abortion law under which women suspected of having abortions can be prosecuted for aggravated homicide. PBS highlights the cases of several women who have been prosecuted, and sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison. You can watch the video or read a transcript at this link.


Carlos X. said…
Tim, El Salvador's pro life forces (full disclosure: yours truly included) see the issue both in terms of the traditional morality debate over abortion and as a matter of national autonomy. The first part of that will be self explanatory, and I won't attempt to hijack your space to insert an abortion debate. I think Archbishop Romero said it best when he spoke in terms the theology of life and the hedonistic/consumer impulse to terminate life when it is inconvenient. "If obstacles are placed in the way of a fetus," Romero said, "then it also becomes easy to eliminate the life of an elderly person." In effect, it annihilates the value of life: "If abortion is logical then the process of the elimination of other people is also logical." (Oct. 9, 1977 sermon) But apart from the moral disagreement, the pro life forces in El Salvador view the pro-choice cause as a bit of a foreign imposition. Polls have shown opposition to abortion to run in the 80% (IUDOP poll) to 90% (JBS Opinión Pública) range among the Salvadoran population--even in cases of rape or fetal deformation (76% "strongly" felt this way in the IUDOP poll). In light of such fierce local opposition, the pro-choice cause is generally spearheaded by international NGOs, U.N. and human rights groups. It is a populist sense that leads governments like Funes/FMLN, or Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, or Rafael Correa in Ecuador (who fired party officials who espoused pro-choice views) or Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay--all leftists--to resist the push to liberalize abortion laws or even legalize abortion outright.