Social Issues

Women’s movement in Ecuador fight for access to abortion for victims of rape

By Cristina Bazan

Quito, Dec 2 (EFE).- Women’s rights organizations in Ecuador are fighting for a “fair and restorative law” that guarantees safe and legal access to abortions for victims of rape, in hopes that it will be approved by the National Assembly before the end of the year.

Every day, seven girls under the age of 14 give birth in Ecuador and in 2020, over 6,200 rapes were reported in the country, according to official data.

In the last decade, some 120 women have been prosecuted for having an abortion.

On April 28 this year, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador decriminalized the termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, a historic move in the liberation of abortion laws in the Latin American country, where abortion remains illegal.

Before this day, the law only allowed abortion if the pregancy posed a risk to the women or if the women who had been raped had a mental disability.

The bill, approved by the Constitutional Court, is now being debated in the National Assembly to regulate how access to abortions for victims of rape will be provided.

Despite the step forward in reproductive rights, the women’s movement in Ecuador claims the bill has its limitations and the fight is still not over.

“It is important that this law puts women at the center, that it allows access to health services and does not put administrative or any other kind of obstacles to girls, women or people with gestational capacity,” programme officer for Ecuador at Planned Parenthood Global, Paulina Ponce, told Efe.

Sexual violence and the revictimization of women in Ecuador is a “serious problem that has been hidden for a long time” Ponce said, referring to the multiple obstacles they met over the ten year battle before the Constitutional Court’s decision earlier this year.

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