May 15, 2021

HRW calls on Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape

HRW calls on Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape



Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on the National Assembly (Parliament) of Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape and warned that denying victims the right to decide whether or not to continue their pregnancy "is a cruel measure. "

"The Justice Commission of the National Assembly of Ecuador has a crucial opportunity to protect the human rights and dignity of women and girls, by giving victims of rape victims the opportunity to decide if they want to continue with their pregnancies," HRW director for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, said in a statement.

Vivanco plans to request, via Skype, the Justice Commission of the Ecuadorian National Assembly to support a proposal to decriminalize abortion in case of rape, in line with Ecuador's international human rights obligations.

"Ecuador should ensure that no one has the obligation to continue a pregnancy that is not the result of their will," said Vivanco, for whom "a woman or girl who has suffered the traumatic experience of being raped should not face the possibility of being imprisoned if she decides to undergo an abortion. "

In this regard, he supported that pregnant women due to sexual violence should have "access to a safe and legal abortion".

HRW explained that abortion "is legal in Ecuador when the life or health of the pregnant woman is at risk, or when a woman with a mental disability presents a pregnancy that is the result of a rape."

But he warned that it is one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that does not allow access to abortion in case of rape.

In this sense, HRW stressed that this country "has high rates of gender violence" and cited figures from the National Survey on Family Interactions and Violence against Women of 2012, which shows that "approximately one in four women suffers sexual violence during his life in Ecuador. "

The group called attention to "a particularly alarming fact," such as the high rates of rape of adolescent girls, and noted that 2,000 girls under the age of 14 give birth in Ecuador every year.

According to the international organization, "all these pregnancies are considered to be the product of rape, given that 14 years is the age for sexual consent in the country."

In addition, HRW mentioned the results of a report it published in 2013, in which it highlighted the fact that criminal sanctions led some women and adolescents to resort to illegal and unsafe abortions, undermining the country's efforts to reduce preventable deaths. .

The Penal Code provides sanctions for women and adolescent girls who obtain abortions, including sentences of six months to two years in prison.

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