The Mexican state of Guanajuato has some very strict abortion laws: terminating a pregnancy attracts a three-year prison sentence. However, it would appear that prosecutors occasionally up the ante by bringing a charge of homicide, which brings a much more severe sentence; thus six women have been given 25-30 year sentences for having an abortion. According to reports, all the women in question were poorly educated; all had been abandoned by the fathers of the children (who subesquently, it’s been alleged, reported the women for having an abortion), and two had become pregnant as a result of rape.
These cases look like the acme of justice, though, compared to that of a seventh woman, who was sent to prison for the crime of having a spontaneous abortion. Yep: in Guanajuato, even a miscarriage can get you put away for homicide.
Guanajuato seems to have some very strange laws relating to sex, reproduction and women – laws that wouldn’t look too out of place in Taleban-era Afghanistan:
Conservative-led Guanajuato was the only state in the country that refused to promulgate a law against gender violence, as had been federally mandated.
“It was said that violence against women in Guanajuato doesn’t exist and that (such a law) was not necessary,” [one commentator] said. Some years ago, she noted, the authorities tried to eliminate rape as a justifying factor for having an abortion but the opposition of activists prevented that.
The mayor of Guanajuato city, Eduardo Romero, also tried to prohibit passionate kissing in public.
Oh, and one other thing:
Guanajuato – with Mexico’s highest rate of teen pregnancy – refuses to teach sex education in the schools.
What a surprise.
But there’s something interesting about this kind of case. Those who want to defend a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy will look at reports at this and feel… well, anger, astonishment, righteous indignation, and perhaps a few other similar emotions. But the pro-life camp ought to see this kind of story as a catastrophe. After all, it makes them look utterly insane. It can’t be good PR to be associated with this kind of lunacy.