El Salvador’s ruling leftist party tables a bill to allow abortion in cases of risk to life and health, rape and trafficking, unviable fetal anomaly, and sexual abuse of girls

El Salvador’s ruling leftist party tables a bill to allow abortion in cases of risk to life and health, rape and trafficking, unviable fetal anomaly, and sexual abuse of girls

El Salvador’s ruling leftist party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), has presented a bill to the national Congress to allow abortion in cases of rape or trafficking, when the woman’s life is in danger, when the fetus is so deformed that its life is unviable, and in cases of the sexual abuse of a girl who is a minor. Consent of the woman is required in each case, and the consent of the girl and her parents or legal guardian is required in the case of a minor.

The Alianza por la Salud y la Vida de las Mujeres (Alliance for Women’s Health and Life) supports this bill, which would add these grounds to Article 133 of the Penal Code as non-punishable grounds for abortion. The clause on girl children is in line with what is already established in Article 18 of the Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Childhood and Adolescence (LEPINA).

With 84 members of parliament, 43 votes in favour are required; the FMLN has 31 seats so they must convince at least 12 other deputies.

There are at least 14 women in El Salvador currently in prison who have been sentenced to prison terms of 12 years or more for abortion and about 130 currently facing legal proceedings, according to the Citizens Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion.

PETITION: PLEASE SIGN IT !!

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In a petition that will be sent to Deputy Lorena Peña, President of the Chamber of Deputies, (pictured above) and 25 other senior decision-makers in the government, the Alianza por la Salud y la Vida de las Mujeres supports the four grounds outlined in the law reform proposal and gives a long list of reasons why, including the following statistics:

  • 30% of pregnancies in 2015 were in girls and adolescents aged 10–19 years, i.e. 25,132 girls and adolescents became mothers in 2015, of whom 1,444 were aged 10–14 years;
  • In 2015, an average of 5 cases per day of sexual violence were registered, and between January and August 2016, 11 complaints of sexual violence were reported daily, 78% of them in children and adolescents. Many cases of sexual abuse of girls and adolescents were committed by relatives and/or known persons.
  • The Ministry reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death in children and adolescents aged 10–19 years; it is presumed that the majority of these cases are related to sexual violence and resulting pregnancies.
  • For girls and adolescents pregnancy endangers their lives; the risk of maternal death is 4 times higher in adolescents under the age of 16 years.

They are calling on everyone to sign the petition and share it widely. SIGN HERE: PETITION

SOURCES: Alianza por la Salud y la Vida de las Mujeres, 11 October 2016 Reuters, by Nelson Renteria, 12 October 2016 + PHOTOS Jose Cabezas/Reuters