In a New York Times article, journalist Jack Hitt discusses the effects that criminalizing abortion has had on El Salvador. The article is not only nicely written it slowly brings you in to a country that's catholic beliefs are putting women in prison for up to 30 years should they have, or participate in, an abortion. I actually read the first paragraph twice because I was so astonished by the setting for the article. The article spans out over 9 web pages and you need to register with the New York Times site to read it. The New York Times is however a valuable source of content and like this article it is well worth registering with the site. Registration is free by the way...
The article was an eye opener for me. Learning that South Dakota and soon Mississippi uphold anti-abortion laws that only accept cases where the life of the mother is at risk excluding pregnancy due to rape and incest was astonishing. In El Salvador however there are no exceptions !
The effects described are not what you would have expected and it's not a simple black and white "criminalizing abortion is good or bad". Events demonstrate that leaving no choice is a source of the up most psychological turmoil for the women confronted with the issue.
One point in the article that I found interesting is the question of who is prosecuted. Parties upholding the criminalization of abortion seem to find it difficult to say they will prosecute the women aborting, preferring to indicate that the people organising abortions are the real culprits without really clarifying anything else. Women do seem to be treated as criminals though during most investigations described.
It just shows how events can be extremely difficult and take time to get over in one country and will destroy your life as you know it in another.