In one part of the programme, Steve Bradshaw looks at Nicaragua where abortion is illegal, and casts Cardinal Miguel Obando Y Bravo as the baddie who is influencing the government to retain the law. Then the underdogs are introduced:
But earlier this year one family took the cardinal on, provoking a national row that split Nicaragua and capture the headlines for months. Maria and Francisco's daughter, Rosa, not her real name, had been raped and was pregnant. At the time she was just 8. When we met in the capital Managua, Francisco and Maria, both Catholics, told me why they decided to seek an abortion for Rosa, despite the opposition of the church.Then the girl's "father" (in fact her step-father) is given a chance to speak for himself:
FRANCISCOBradshaw adds an editorial voice in case we have not got the message fully.
Well I did feel very bad about what the church was thinking, and then I said to hell with the church. I don’t want to have anything to do with the ministers or priests in the church, I don’t want to know.
"BRADSHAW: Defeat, this time, for the Cardinal. For many in Nicaragua Rosa's parents have become heroes, an ordinary couple defying the church and making a stand for women's rights. Others in Nicaragua are also defying the ban on abortion."Unfortunately for the BBC's portrayal of Rosa's father, Francisco Fletes Sanchez, as the pro-choice hero, it now turns out that he was in fact the man who raped her. He has been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his crimes. He was in fact on the run at the time, having escaped from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
The parents did arrange a clandestine abortion in Nicaragua for their daughter with the help of the Women's Network Against Violence, a pro-abortion network of feminist groups. The abortion prevented the authorities from identifying Fletes as the father of the baby. It is certainly no mystery why he was such a passionate advocate of abortion. He continued to rape his step-daughter and finally confessed to his crimes when she had another baby who was not aborted.
Several members of the Network have now had charges filed against them for their role in procuring the abortion. One of these is Marta Maria Blandon, the Director for Central America of the international pro-abortion agency Ipas. Blandon admitted publicly in an interview in 2003 that she knew Fletes was being investigated by Costa Rican authorities when she helped him to escape to Nicaragua.
This aspect of abortion is one that is not given much publicity. (Do let me know if there is any public response to this from the BBC, for example.) Here in England, we have clandestine abortions for schoolgirls and contraceptive advice given without parents being allowed to know. How many cases of rape and incest are being covered up? And how much comfort is given to the perpetrators by the BBC's portrayal of the Catholic Church?