May 13, 2006
In a historic 5-3 ruling, Colombia's Supreme Court legalized abortion under some circumstances -- specifically, in cases of rape, incest, to save the mother's life, and fatal fetal deformity. Previously, there was a total ban on abortion.
Colombia's religious right strongly opposed the decision, with bishops now threatening excommunications and civil disobedience. (At least one "Christian" news organization in this country is propagandizing against the measure, neglecting to mention the narrow set of cases in which abortion has been legalized.)
It's things like this that make me wish I knew more about Third World politics. On all sorts of issues (including poverty, but not limited to that) the problems in other countries are more severe than they are here. Against enemies this bad, it's really heartening to see the good guys win.
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Latin America, on balance, has probably the strictest laws against abortion. In Chile, for example, you cannot have an abortion even if your life depends on it.
Posted by: Randy Paul | May 13, 2006 5:19:24 PM
Religious groups' influence is probably in direct relationship toward abortion and contraception. When bishops can freely excommunicate court members without an outcry, then you know who really holds the cards of power. Church and state are not really separate in many countries. However, apparently parish priests are less likely to object to condoms and abortions, so maybe the actual damage is somewhat attenuated.
Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 13, 2006 5:25:27 PM
Stories like these remind me of the long-ago words of the late Bertrand Russell: "The Christian religion, as institutionalized in its churches, is the principle enemy of moral progress in the world today."
Posted by: Farinata X | May 13, 2006 6:08:33 PM
With the mexican and latin american invasion of the USA proceeding and expected to ramp UPWARDS after the amnesty bill is passed, I predict that the USA will get substantially more socially conservative in coming years.
The immigrants coming here by and large do no support abortion, gay rights, etc.
The liberals better keep that in mind.
Posted by: joe blow | May 13, 2006 11:31:18 PM
What is so bad about being against abortion?
Posted by: JIm O'Leary | May 14, 2006 1:54:36 PM
What's really bad, Jim, is opposing abortion even when the mother's life is at risk, or when the fetus has no chance of surviving.
I happen to think that there is nothing morally problematic about first-trimester abortion. If you're interested in my reasons for this view, they're here.
Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | May 14, 2006 2:27:44 PM
Neil, thank you. I agree abortion is ethical when the fetus has no chance of surviving or the mother's life is at risk. I also thought you went to some impressive trouble in crafting your essay. Your essay is evidence that the rights and wrongs of abortion are not simple and do not admit of an absolutist solution. Well, does anything?
Posted by: JIm O'Leary | May 14, 2006 6:47:15 PM
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