Legislators in Ecuador’s National Assembly voted 75-41 on February 17 to allow abortion in cases of rape. The Washington Post reports that with the ruling, women in urban areas can now commit abortions due to rape up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, while those in rural areas will have up until 16 weeks.
Prior to the ruling, abortion was only allowed in the country if a woman’s life was in danger (although abortion is never medically necessary).
The ruling comes after the country’s Constitutional Court voted last year to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape. That decision opened the door for legislators to regulate the procedure.
Jaime Pallares, a pro-life advocate speaking out against the bill, said it was regrettable that the politicians chose to ignore alternative options like adoption. “I am adopted, they let me live,” he said. “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.”
Despite the ruling, some abortion advocates still weren’t happy. Sarahi Maldonado of the group Las Comadres said that the time limits were too restrictive. “The assembly has once again failed girls, women, survivors and victims of sexual violence,”she told told Reuters. “They put in more barriers so girls are obliged to give birth and seek illegal abortions.”
In order for the legislation to go into effect, it must still be signed by President Guillermo Lasso. Lasso has said he is pro-life, but there are also reports that he has said that he will respect legislation from those who don’t agree with him on the matter.
While many believe that abortion is an appropriate response to rape, it can actually compound the trauma that a woman endures. Abortion can never erase the terrible experience of rape, and it always results in the horrific death of a preborn child. It is never appropriate to kill an innocent being as a response to someone else’s crime.
A woman who has experienced rape needs healing from the violence of that rape. What abortion offers is not a source of healing, but is instead another act of violence. In fact, women who have gone through this situation themselves have said that choosing life after rape has helped them to heal. In contrast, others who have chosen abortion have talked about how the abortion did nothing but compound the trauma.
Ecuador’s legalization of abortion in cases of rape puts the country on a slippery slope. Once legislators contend that there is a right to kill a preborn child in some circumstances, it isn’t long before attempts are made to justify abortion in other cases as well.
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