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April 06, 2006

Womb audits

Today, Air America host Rachel Maddow interviewed reporter Jack Hitt about his upcoming NYT Sunday magazine story on abortion in El Salvador, a nation that criminalized all abortion in 1998. As you may know, in El Salvador abortion is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Salvadoran law admits no health exemptions, not even when abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. Hospitals even force women with ectopic pregnancies to wait until the embryos burst inside them, lest the precious-but-doomed embryonic material end up in purgatory sooner than God intended. The government literally employs "forensic vagina inspectors" who are tasked with examining women who have lost pregnancies under "suspicious" circumstances. (Audio available here)

Unauthorized deductions, ladies? Update: Amanda has more on vaginal crime scenes.


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I had two ectopics, it's the fallopian tubes that burst, not the embryo. Just the same, it's unbelievable. Do they allow contraception in El Salvador? Do they make women register each time they get their periods?

I guess we've found Sam Brownback's fantasy camp. The law also demands prison time for anyone who convinces a woman to get an abortion or provides financing for one. Ugly. Horrible.

mudkitty: When this law went through in 1998, El Salvador did have legal contraception. There were two government-run providers and a private provider. The most common method of contraception in the 1990s in El Salvador was surgical sterilization. I haven't been able to find current information on this, however.

You can read's report on El Salvador here. It was published in 1998.

El Salvador: Catholic Church Cancels Abortion Rights

WIN News, Spring 2000

From 'Reproductive Freedom News,' THE CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE LAW & POLICY 120 Wall St., New York, NY 10005

"The Catholic Church in El Salvador has been actively engaged in manipulative tactics to sway an already conservative legislature into passing the extreme laws. The Church bussed Catholic schoolchildren to the capitol to stage anti-choice demonstrations and by confronting thousands of churchgoers after Mass to solicit their signatures on anti-choice petitions. This effort to convince legislators that it is the will of the El Salvadoran people, and not just the Church's agenda.

An already dire situation didn't seem like it could get worse for the women of El Salvador. In 1998, the country's Penal Code was changed to make it the only nation in the world, besides Chile, to prohibit abortion without exception - not even to save the woman's life. But this year, the status of women in that Central American country dropped a notch further, when the Constitution was amended to recognize life from the moment of conception.

At that point, the fetus took firm dominance over women by being declared, in essence, a person whose life comes first. ...

So if someone travels from Nebraska to El Salvador they can come back home and say "I have seen the future, and it _____"?

I expect the future in Nebraska will have a more Rod Parsleyesque ring to it, but yeah. Pretty much.

well I'm not from Nebraska, but I would say "I have seen the future, and it _____"? rivals the Handmaids Tale

That is some sick shit. And it could use a lot more publicity in South Dakota and the rest of the states, so people can understand where unfettered zygote's rights can lead.

Is there a certain point in the slide to totalitarianism at which right wingers lose the right to quote Hayek, Orwell, Arendt, etc?

That's fucking hilarious! Imagine that - Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 2 - would have been that much more entertaining had we been in El Salvador. What a twisted world. I can't/won't hope that the people responsible for these laws experience such a catastrophe, but I hope they eventually comprehend our pain.

What a vicious, vicious law. To quote myself after I first went to the link...

They Can't Even Stop Ectopic Pregnancies Before The Fallopian Tube Bursts?

all I can do is channel the Rude Pundit for a moment:

If every anti-choice organization that gets a copy of the April 9 NYTimes Magazine- and they should get copies, lots of copies, by email, fax, and letter- doesn't immediately condemn El Salvador's law as being a hideous perversion of every 'pro life' ideal they hold, then those organizations are actively 'pro gutshot as a punishment for women having sex.' Because gutshots and ectopic pregnancies are about equally survivable: without modern surgical methods they're going to kill you(*). That is all.

* ectopic pregnancy used to have a 50% mortality rate- now its far less.

An ectopic pregnancy, if left untreated, has a 100% mortality rate. Only one time, in all recorded history, has a woman survived a full term ectopic (and even that might be a hoax.)

The embryo has to be removed surgicly in an ectopic case. What is that, if not abortion? It's terminating a pregnancy. So when the wingnuts say there's no medical reason for an abortion, they lie.

Yes. I think the 50% stats come from the early ectopic pregnancies that get reabsorbed into the body. A known ectopic pregnancy is far more dangerous.

I wonder if they are aware their policy ends up being a vile form of sterilization? If most women have a dominant ovary, the probabily that the burst tube is for that ovary implies that the woman's overall fertility has gone down by well over 50%. On top of that, the ordinary correlation of one EP with having another is over 10%. If the inflammation and other damage from the one tube affects the other tube, then her risk of another EP would go up.

Imagine that an ordinary appendix infection gave you a 10% chance of another appendix infection (if we had 2 not 1).

Even is she is now dealing with only a 10% risk, a post-EP woman in El Salvador would need contraception and
1. monthly pregnancy tests
2. access to monitoring at a clinic.
3. access to surgery.
To preserve any ability to safely have sex, let alone the ability to safely get pregnant again.

Vile form of sterilization.

The 50% figure applies to the chances of having a second ectopic. I was one of the 50%.

Praise Jesus! Thank God Saint Reagan saved El Salvador from the satanic commies.

Yeah, you can only kill people after their born.

Pedophile priests and their useful fool broodmares like Judy Brown of American Life League will set up Magdalene Sister laundry labor camps here with the help of KBR fencing and police dogs. Priests and Neil Bush will pick out the best looking kids for their harems, while the "sinful" moms get worked to death. Fetal matricide thugology benefits 2 groups of pious pervs--pedophile priests and playboy politicians. This "pro-life" heresy was inspired by early Christian priests married to the "wrong sex" or stuck with wives suffering the ancient, smelly, widespread scourge of bladder and/or bowel leaking childbirth tears (fistulas). Fistulas are the dirty secret why men invented divorce, kept harems, altar boys, banned marriage for priests, burned "witches," and banned birth control in the hope another pregnancy would legally kill off stinky wives. Despite modern obstetrics, chirpy, pukey adult women's diaper commercials and GOP divorces are everywhere, yet no one talks about WHY! How about sending nose plugs and Depends diapers scrawled with divorce lawyer numbers to antichoicers as a media stunt? Nobody talks about the mortified moms stinking and pooping more than the untimely babies. Has anyone studied whether fistulas cause post-partum depression? Ask Repug men if they'd be faithful to wives suffering female fetus caused-face or breast rotting cancer--my best friend lost her nose, right eye, ear, upper and lower palate, and finally her life to a female fetus extra estrogen-sensitive face cancer. I know of countless women whose daughters caused them breast cancer. A former USAToday coworker's niece even killed her dad--after she got done causing her mom's lethal breast cancer, the heartbreak she caused killed her dad with a premature heart attack. Most men used to die in middle age from the stress of working 100 hours a week to feed 10-20 kids whose unwanted births already killed their moms. Tell fundies the next childbirth that maims or murders a mom in their states is going to put their asses in jail for assault or homicide. South Dakota women should declare a sex and birth strike like the women of Lysistratta. GOP politicians' garbage should be inspected for Viagra packages, condoms, and discarded tampons with microscopic caffeine-aborted embroyos. Imagine if pro-choicers beat fundies with their own rhetoric by staging media-event church funerals for their coffee-aborted progeny! Picture processions of pro-choicers carrying tiny caskets with GOP tampons until fundies stop violating other women's private parts. God gave women 450 known abortifacient plants, including the caffeinated drinks in GOP kitchens, yet the "know-it-all" Catholic Church refuses to address this mega theology booboo. Jesus never condemned the RU-486 weed of Jerusalem, but his church was quickly taken over by pedophiles and Scott Petersons. Useful fool "pro-lifers" breed for pedophile priests, Neil Bush and the Pentagon.

Hmm. Looks like this is in the news again, not because of the abortion theme but because an example was tainted. This illustrates how debates get cloudy when unrelated issues come into play. Character flaws on the part of the main example, even to the point of criminal conduct, have nothing to do with the extreme nature of El Salvador's legal penalties for abortion.

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