Sunday, November 23, 2008

Condemned to Die: Abortion in Latin America

"In this profession, we see all kinds of things, like people using witchcraft, to whatever pills they can get their hands on," said a doctor, who charges about $45 to carry out abortions in women's homes.

He spoke on condition that his name not be used, because performing an abortion in Colombia can lead to a prison term of more than four years.

"They open themselves up to incredible risks, from losing their reproductive systems or, through complications, their lives," the doctor said.

Such arguments have done little to sway an anti-abortion movement that is largely led by influential leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.
clipped from

PAMPLONA, Colombia - In this tradition-bound Roman Catholic town one day in April, two young women did what many here consider unthinkable: pregnant and scared, they took a cheap ulcer medication known to induce abortions. When the drug left them bleeding, they were treated at a local emergency room - then promptly arrested.

Latin America holds some of the world's most stringent abortion laws, yet it still has the developing world's highest rate of abortions - a rate that is far higher even than in Western Europe, where abortion is widely and legally available.

Four million abortions, most of them illegal, take place in Latin America annually, the United Nations reports, and up to 5,000 women are believed to die each year from complications from abortions.
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