May 22, 2022

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Ecuador’s National Assembly approves decriminalization of abortion in rape cases

On February 17, 2022, pro-abortion activists took to the streets of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to protest for women’s rights. Photo: © Rodrigo Puntia / AFP.

Ecuador’s National Assembly recognizes abortion as innocence in rape cases. The regulations restrict access to rape, women up to 12 weeks pregnant and women up to 18 years of age, tribal and rural women. The move came amid widespread debate over the issue in the majority Conservative nation.

It was approved by 75 votes in favor, 41 votes against and 14 votes without voting. Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, it decriminalized and regulated the voluntary interruption of pregnancy if the surrogate mother had been raped.

Pregnant women can interrupt their pregnancy up to 12 weeks and, in exceptional cases, up to 18 weeks in the case of women, adolescents, and tribal and rural women.

This action still needs the approval of the administrator. The proclamation will be in the hands of President Guillermo Lasso, who has 30 days to publish the terms in the official register or partially or completely prevent them. The president said he did not personally support abortion and promised to support legalizing it in some cases.

Victim women are not required to report rape, but must sign a consent form.

Physicians may oppose performing surgery on the basis of conscience.

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Activists condemn short-term frames

The national press highlighted the differences between pro-abortion activists. Time limits are very restrictive and force women to pursue illegal, often deadly, abortions.

Outside the legislature, Sarahi Maldonado, a member of the feminist group Los Comrades, described the church as “girls, women, survivors and victims of sexual violence who have failed again.” “They create more barriers, thus forcing girls to give birth and seeking illegal abortions,” he added.

To date, abortion is illegal in Ecuador, except when a woman’s life is in danger or if she becomes pregnant as a result of raping a mentally ill woman. Under the procedure, women can be sentenced to six months to two years in prison and those who assist in uncontrolled abortion can be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

The move was approved on February 17, amid widespread debate over abortion in the country and after four changes to the initial bill, asking for 28 weeks for women and an indefinite grace period for girls.

(Information from France 24)

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