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Ecuador approves measure regulating abortion for rape cases

The Constitutional Court ruled last April that abortions in rape cases should be decriminalized, but left it to lawmakers to implement the regulations.

For the measure to become law, it must be signed by President Guillermo Lasso. There was no immediate comment from Lasso, who has defined himself as an advocate for life since gestation but said during his campaign that he would respect the decisions of those who disagree with him on the matter.

Ana Vera of the Surkuna Foundation, a women’s rights activist, said a law guaranteeing the right to abortion in cases of rape “will ensure the ability of women and girls to decide whether they want to continue or end their pregnancy”.

“No woman should be forced into motherhood, but neither should she be forced into clandestine abortion,” she said, noting that the abortion ban has not stopped women from look for them.

Jaime Pallares, a member of one of the anti-abortion groups that have staged marches and rallies to oppose the legislation, said it was unfortunate lawmakers passed the bill without taking action to give women of alternatives, such as giving up unwanted babies for adoption.

“I am adopted, they let me live. I don’t know if I am the product of great love or rape or incest, and today I have a happy and productive life,” he said.

In Latin America, Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba allow abortion without restriction. Bolivia, Colombia and Peru allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela prohibit abortion except when the pregnancy threatens the health of the woman. Most Mexican states also fall into this latter group, although some have added broader exceptions.

El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic prohibit the termination of pregnancy without exception.

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