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  • Pro-choice demonstrators react during a protest outside the National Assembly as lawmakers hold a session to vote on legalizing abortion in cases of rape, in Quito, Ecuador September 17, 2019.

    Pro-choice demonstrators react during a protest outside the National Assembly as lawmakers hold a session to vote on legalizing abortion in cases of rape, in Quito, Ecuador September 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 September 2019

Ecuador's National Assembly voted to maintain the nation's criminalizing abortion rules and to not legalize abortion in the case of rape.

Ecuador’s National Assembly on Tuesday rejected the move to decriminalize abortions in the cases of rape. 

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Women in Ecuador Demand Legal Abortion in Case of Rape

"With 65 yes votes, … the Assembly does not approve (the) reforms related to non-punishable abortion," Ecuador’s legislature announced on its Twitter account. 

Pro-abortion protesters shouted at well-armed national anti-riot police that the decision was wrong. The vote keeps in force that abortion is only legal in Ecuador when the life or health of the pregnant woman is at risk, or when the pregnancy is the result of a woman with a mental disability.

Had it been approved, the votes on Tuesday would have modified 45 articles of the nation’s penal code and created six provisions to allow abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or poorly formed fetus. 

The law will continue to penalize women who terminate their pregnancies with up to three years in prison. 

More than 20,000 girls under fourteen gave birth in Ecuador between 2008 and 2018, according to official data. 

Ecuador’s current abortion law has been in force since 1938, and the last debate to legalize abortion in cases of rape, in 2013, was also voted against.

"A raped woman must decide what to do with her pregnancy, she should have the opportunity to give birth to that child if she wishes, or to terminate her pregnancy, that is not possible today," Silvia Buendía, a lawyer and rights activist , told Reuters. 

"What we want is to give a raped woman the opportunity to decide, it is not that a raped woman should terminate her pregnancy, no woman should abort. What women need is to be able to decide," she added.

According to women’s rights organizations all were treated by national health system and were required to carry out their pregnancies to term. Of all the cases, 80 percent were the result of sexual abuse committed within the home, school or in their religious community.

 

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