From The Associated Press:
Two weeks after Olga Reyes danced at her wedding, her bloated and disfigured body was laid to rest in an open coffin — the victim, her husband and some experts say, of Nicaragua's new no-exceptions ban on abortion. Reyes, a 22-year-old law student, suffered an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus develops outside the uterus, cannot survive and causes bleeding that endangers the mother. But doctors seemed afraid to treat her because of the anti-abortion law, said husband Agustin Perez. By the time they took action, it was too late.
Nicaragua last year became one of 35 countries that ban all abortions, even to save the life of the mother. The ban has been strictly followed. Abortion rights groups have stormed Congress in recent weeks demanding change, but President Daniel Ortega, a Roman Catholic, has refused to oppose the church-supported ban.
Evangelical groups and the church say abortion is never needed now because medical advances solve the complications that might otherwise put a pregnant mother's life at risk. But at least three women have died because of the ban, and another 12 reported cases will be examined.
Some doctors privately admit to carrying out what they believe are illegal procedures, while others say they won't jeopardize their careers.
"Many are thinking that instead of taking the risk, it is better to let a woman die," said Dr. Leonel Arguello, president of the Nicaraguan Society of General Medicine.
Doctors frequently see women coming in with infections, many likely brought on by illegal abortions that they refuse to disclose for fear they might be punished. Because the people with some medical training who used to do illegal abortions have disappeared women more frequently take drugs or pull the fetus out on their own using wires or other crude objects.
The Roman Catholic Church mobilized nearly 300,000 people to march and sign petitions in support of the ban.