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Salvadoran congressional committee shelves bill to decriminalize abortion

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A commission of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador decided Wednesday to send to the archive a bill to decriminalize abortion under four grounds presented in 2016.

Salvadoran activist Sara García denounced through a video spread on social networks that the Legislation and Constitutional Points Commission “sent to the file all the bills that were being studied, among these the proposal to decriminalize abortion on four grounds.”

Salvadoran congressional committee shelves bill to decriminalize abortion
Salvadoran congressional committee shelves bill to decriminalize abortion. (Photo internet reproduction)

“This seems to us to be regrettable, and we must denounce it vigorously. It cannot be that this Assembly takes actions that are detrimental to our human rights; it cannot be that a proposal is shelved without study and dialogue,” said the human rights defender.

García demanded that the deputies who make up the Legislation Committee, mostly from the ruling party Nuevas Ideas (NI), explain why they are shelving a “proposal that has to do with the dignity of Salvadoran women”.

“This is an issue that is a debt of the Salvadoran State. The decriminalization of abortion is a necessity; it is a human rights and public health issue, so we demand that the new Assembly not shelve, that it does not consider our rights obsolete, that it sit down to dialogue and build laws for all people,” she added.

The director of Amnesty International for the Americas, Erika Guevara-Rosas, also reacted to the decision taken in the Legislation Commission and pointed out that “the total prohibition of abortion is a serious violation of human rights and an international shame for El Salvador”.

She added that the decision was made to send to the file the reform proposal to decriminalize abortion “without dialogue and without listening to women”.

The leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), with the support of women’s organizations, feminists, and human rights defenders, proposed in October 2016 to Congress to modify Article 133 of the Penal Code to decriminalize abortion under four grounds.

The proposal contemplated approving abortion when the purpose is to save the pregnant woman’s life, when the pregnancy is the result of rape, when there is a malformation of the fetus or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or statutory rape in the case of a minor.

Currently, women who undergo a termination of pregnancy in El Salvador are charged with aggravated homicide, which carries penalties of 30 to 50 years in prison.


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