Your Support in Action

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights requires the Nicaraguan Government to adopt urgent measures to save the life of Amalia*

Posted on: Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Keywords: Reproductive Rights, Women's Health, Nicaragua, Latin America and Caribbean

This press release from Women's Link Worldwide refers to Nicaragua's denial of a therapeutic abortion for Amalia*, a 27-year-old cancer patient.

Bogotá, March 1, 2010 – On February 18, 2010, a group of Nicaraguan and international organizations, specifically, the Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH), the Gynecological and Obstetrics Society, the Association for the New Family (ANFAN), Women’s Link Worldwide, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and IPAS Central America, requested the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to ask the State of Nicaragua to adopt urgent precautionary measures to protect the life of Amalia, a Nicaraguan 27-year-old woman, mother of a 10-year-old girl, and a cancer patient, who was refused a therapeutic abortion required to initiate chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

Even though Amalia has expressed her will to have an abortion to be able to receive treatment, she has been hospitalized since February 2, 2010 in the State hospital of León , her birth city, without receiving any treatment on the part of the healthcare system.

The life-threatening risk Amalia has had to withstand during the past months evidences the adverse consequences women are forced to face when they experience pregnancies that pose a risk to their life and health, in contexts in which abortion is completely banned, as it is the case in Nicaragua .

Last Friday February 26th, the IACHR set a historic precedent for the region and the world by asking the government of Nicaragua:

1. To adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the petitioner has access to the medical treatment she requires to treat the metastatic cancer;

2. To adopt said measures in agreement with the petitioner and her representatives and

3. To reserve the identity of the petitioner and her family and to refer to her, simply as “Amalia”.

Additionally, the IACHR requested the government of Nicaragua to submit information about the compliance with the measures within five days of the notification of the decision and to periodically update it.

*The name has been changed to protect the identity of the petitioner.

About the Impact of the Measures

The precautionary measures granted by the Commission set a historic precedent because this is the first case that evidences the need for governments to recognize the right to access an abortion in extreme circumstances. The decision is issued at a moment in which several countries are discussing a complete ban to abortion, such as the Dominican Republic and Kenya.

On September 21, 2009, the IACHR granted precautionary measures in the case X and XX, in which a Colombian woman and her 14-year-old daughter, the latter of whom was raped and became pregnant, was denied access to a lawful abortion. The Commission asked the government to grant all physical and mental services that the girl needed as a consequence of a dangerous and forced pregnancy.

These two cases clearly show that the Commission understands and condemns the effects that the denial of an abortion may have on the rights to life, health and integrity of women in the region.

Attorney Mónica Roa, Programs Director at Women’s Link Worldwide, one of the organizations that requested the measures, stated: “the measures granted by the Commission are of great significance to Amalia and her family, to Nicaraguan women and to all women in the region because they reinforce the human rights arguments that advance the need to recognize abortion as part of women's human rights."

To read the full press release, click here or visit Women’s Link Worldwide.




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