Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Do You Speak Spanish?

Did Jack Hitt, the author of a New York Times Magazine article on abortion in El Salvador, inaccurately report that a woman received a 30-year jail sentence for having an abortion at 18 weeks, rather than for strangling her newborn, delivered at term?

Yes, according to an anti-abortion site and NYT Public Editor Byron Calame. They base their contention on a copy of the court ruling (posted in Spanish, at the anti-abortion site).

Not clear, according to my minimal Spanish-language skills and Babel Fish translator.

My problem is that nowhere in the court document is the EGA established according to accepted principles. (There's no mention of relevant autopsy findings--fetal weight, measurements, pathology report, etc.).

All we have is that the woman presented postpartum to a hospital with an 18 wk uterus. Also something about a fetal lung X-ray and floating the lungs and part of the GI system (?) as a way to establish aeration. Then based on the fact that she came to the hospital a few hours postpartum (when there'd be some expected uterine involution), and because it was determined that there was air in the lungs, the court pronounced the fetus term/postterm. That's not how you figure out the EGA.

Bottom line: The only way to know who's right and who's wrong is to read (and understand) the court ruling. So, if you speak Spanish and have some time to read and translate, I'm passing the baton to you.

(via Instapundit)



At 5:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I scanned it pretty quickly so I may have missed something but except for the first mention of the finding by the mother (grandmother) of a fetus, the ruling refers to a "newborn" or "product of conception". The latter terminology is used in the passages relating to the argument meant to prove that the accused was the mother of the baby. There is a passage that suggests that there were medical tests to determine that the fetus was full-term but it's very vague. The ruling is quite clear that the issue is infanticide of a full-term infant.

Most of the ruling focuses on demonstrating that air entered the fetus' lungs (ergo born alive) and connecting the woman who showed up at the hospital with the fetus found under the bed. The issue of the gestational age is not raised as a questionl, simply stated that the pregnancy was determined to be between 38 and 42 weeks.

Any other information other than this ruling?


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