Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name: The Story of Rosita


When Rosita, a 9 year-old Costa Rican, was raped and became pregnant four years ago, doctors said she was too young to survive a pregnancy. Costa Rica would not allow an exception to their no abortion law, forcing Rosita with her mother and stepfather to go to neighboring Nicaragua to get a life-saving abortion. Rosita became the poster child for therapeutic abortions before disappearing under the protection of the women’s network in Nicaragua. Now, Rosita has returned to the spotlight when her stepfather was sent to jail after impregnating her and the revelation that she has an 18-month-old child. The case of Rosita raises many important human rights issues. First, as the assistant police commission of the town Masaya, where Rosita was living, said, “There are many Rositas.” Just the past two-month in Masaya, four men have been put in jail for raping their daughters or stepdaughters. What needs to be done to stop this from happening? And why is this happening in such high numbers in Nicaragua? Secondly, many people are apprehensive about the way the government is handling this situation. Many people in the women’s network fear that the president, Daniel Ortega, will use this as an opportunity for payback for supporting the sexual abuse charges against Ortega by his stepdaughter in 1998. Others even believe the government will use this situation to weaken all civil society to replace it with party-controlled organizations. Can the women’s network, which is one of the sole means of defending women’s rights in this country, be run by the government? Can the government (which one of its problems has all ready been presented in the blog below) defend human rights justly? Lastly, since Rosita received her abortion, Nicaragua has outlawed all abortions. Rosita would have died had she not received that abortion. In situations like that, does the government have the right to choose the life of the baby over the mother and not allow abortions in any circumstances?

5 comments:

RobbyCano23 said...

I don't know why you did not go into greater detail on one of the main human rights issues across the globe, abortion. Abortion is a human rights issue because essentially you are ending the life of a child before it begins. This is why in countries like Nicaragua abortion is illegal, but at the same time it is an issue for the mother, because if she can't have an abortion she will be forced to have a child she doesn’t want. I believe that abortion should be legal because a child should not be brought into the world, if it is not wanted. Especially in this case because at 9 years old not only would Rosita probably die, but the odds of her baby being normal are not good. However this poses an interesting situation, are unborn children human beings. If they are human than wouldn't they get unalienable human rights, and be under protection of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? However, if unborn children are not considered human beings, than they wouldn’t have human rights, and no violations would occur.

Jen said...

Although Robby poses a very interesting question in the above comment ("are unborn children considered human beings?") I would rather not open that particular can of worms and instead, address the issue of human rights in countries where poverty is the norm rather than the exception. Although Rosita's story is terribly sad, I'm not suprised by the situation. In Nicaragua, as well as many other Latin and South American countries, where the wealth distribution is grossly uneven, the government rarely has the time, money, or inclination to focus on the social issues at hand. Not only is the government incapable of defending human rights from men like Rosita's father, but it likely wouldn't help even if it had the time and money. I don't know the extent of corruption in the Nicaraguan government but I do know that in Bolivia and Columbia, for example, Rosita's family would never receive a dime from the government, much less assistance in getting her an abortion. To answer Kiki's question, yes, I absolutely believe that other organizations should step in and help out where they are able. I also believe that said organizations should aid organizations like the Women's Network mentioned here and should bypass the government if at all possible - there are too many instances where aid money has gone into government officials' pockets instead of where its really needed (ie Oil for Food).

aditi said...

The issue of main concern was that abortion was against the law and was strictly prohibited even in the case of Rosita, where she would have died had she been made to have the child. Though abortion is viewed as being against the law I think it should be case specific as pregnancies due to rapes are due to no fault of the victim as opposed to unprotected sex where the person involved clearly holds responsibility. Bringing children who are conceived by victims of rape, often lead to emotional issues. Hence, in certain cases like the one of Rosita, she should be allowed to make the choice and the government should not have the right to choose for her.

Ryan said...

There are a couple of relevant issues here. The Sandinista government is trying to suppress civil society, mainly feminist groups. The government's alliance with the Catholic Church is detrimental to human rights, especially women's rights. The outlawing of therapeutic abortions is clearly at odds with women's health and women's right to choose. Regardless of whether Nicaragua has seperation of church and state, the government should foremost be concerned with the well-being of its citizens, rather than its citizens' observance religious rights (i.e. that abortion is wrong).

Tigist said...

I do not think the government has a say in this matter because they are risking the life of an innocent girl. It is not Rosita’s fault that she was raped, so she has every right to abort the baby. I think in the case of rape, abortion is the only option because if the baby was to be born, the baby would be a constant reminder of the terrible thing that happened to her. Also, it would have killed her.