A proposed law in Nicaragua banning all abortions, even when a woman or girl’s life is at risk, is currently under review by the country’s judicial commission and may be voted on soon. Current law in Nicaragua permits “therapeutic abortions” for situations in which a woman or girl’s life is endangered by a pregnancy, but remains vague, Spero News reports. Despite the restrictive law, a 1996 study found that about 36,000 abortions are performed every year, and that unsafe, illegal abortions were a leading cause of death for women in the 1980s, according to CBS.
The predominately conservative country engaged in an explosive debate about abortion rights in March 2003 when a 9-year-old rape victim became pregnant and underwent an abortion. Despite medical opinions that the pregnancy was a risk to her health, government officials, Catholic church representatives, and anti-abortion activists opposed the abortion.