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Judges gave the green light to the decriminalization of abortion for women victims of rape. Until now, Ecuador contemplated the legality of abortion for rape only if the woman suffered from a mental disability.
With seven votes in favor, the Plenary of the Constitutional Court (CC) voted in favor of declaring unconstitutional parts of two articles of the Integral Penal Code (COIP) on the criminalization of abortion in Ecuador.
Earlier collectives in defense of human rights in Ecuador gathered from the early hours of Wednesday in the vicinity of the Constitutional Court, which during this day plans to analyze the claims to two articles of the Comprehensive Criminal Code, referring specifically to abortion.
Feminist groups defend the decriminalization of abortion on the grounds of rape, which so far had not been contemplated in the Code. The work session of the court was scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM local time virtually.
According to the director of the feminist organization Surkuna, Ana Vera, the CC faced a transcendental opportunity since it would allow girls, adolescents, and women to stop being criminalized and henceforth not be subjected to forced maternity.
In the opinion of the feminist leader, Ecuador has to fight for social justice, reparation, and non-repetition, allowing girls and women victims of sexual violence to have access to legal abortion.
In this South American nation, abortion is criminalized. According to the current law, abortion is not punishable when it is performed to avoid danger to the life or health of the pregnant woman and if this danger cannot be avoided by other means.
Another cause that is not punishable is if the pregnancy results from rape in a woman who has a mental disability.
These grounds are included in articles 149 and 150 of the COIP. The first of these articles also states that abortion is punishable with a penalty of six months to two years in prison, both for the woman who consents to the procedure and the doctor who performs it.
Así esta el ambiente en los exteriores de la @CorteConstEcu. Colectivos feministas se concentran en defensa a la despenalización del aborto por la causal de violación. La sesión de la corte iniciará a las 10h00 vía telemática @teleSURtvpic.twitter.com/ksmrFu8IFk
"This is the atmosphere outside the @CorteConstEcu. Feminist groups are rallying in defense of the decriminalization of abortion on the grounds of rape. The court session will begin at 10h00 virtually."
In its examination this Wednesday, the CC must decide whether to declare the unconstitutionality of the aforementioned articles.
In August 2019, Fundación Desafío, the National Coalition of Women of Ecuador, the Ecuadorean Front for the Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, and the collective Mujeres con Voz filed a lawsuit for unconstitutionality of these grounds.
Earlier that year, the National Assembly did not approve the modification of article 150 to include the decriminalization of abortion in cases of rape, nor did President Lenín Moreno make a pronouncement on the matter, which forced these groups to appeal to the CC.
In several messages published Wednesday, the Ombudsman's Office of Ecuador has called on the judges of the CC to decriminalize abortion.
The debate is also followed with interest by the so-called pro-life groups, which have also gathered in the surroundings of the court's headquarters and reject the decriminalization request.