Ecuadorian feminists reject abortion law veto and announce actions

Feminist groups from Ecuador met this Saturday in Quito to reject the presidential veto of a law on the decriminalization of abortion for rape, which is being debated in the National Assembly (Parliament), and announced mobilizations to try to prevent the Executive’s amendments.

Leaders of more than sixty feminist groups from all over the country gathered in one of the halls of the Legislative headquarters, in Quito, to analyze actions against the veto issued by the Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso.

The president vetoed the bill on the decriminalization of abortion for rape, which was approved by the Assembly, and proposed more than sixty amendments, so the parliamentary body is debating whether to accept the presidential suggestions or ratify its initial text.

The women’s groups recalled that the law approved in the first instance by the Assembly was ordered by the Constitutional Court, the highest body of legal control of the State, which forced the Legislature to define a regulation that guarantees the interruption of pregnancy in cases of rape.

Paulina Gonzalón, president of the feminist movement "I also"assured Efe that at this Saturday’s meeting the group has ratified its defense of women’s rights and, above all, that the interruption of pregnancy as a result of rape is guaranteed.

This right said, "cannot be negotiated" and rejected President Lasso’s veto, considering that "sentence" women to keep "a pregnancy in these conditions" of violence.

This law "it cannot be negotiated politically, because it is about defending the life of a woman"in many cases a minor, who has been raped and, as a result, has become pregnant without wanting to, she added.

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Gonzalón commented that the majority of raped minors come from poor sectors and that they resort to clandestine abortion methods that put their own lives at risk.

In addition, he stated that in many cases the aggressors are people close to them or relatives, which generates greater pressure to go to clandestine and unsafe abortions.

"The Assembly must put aside the political calculation" and deny the presidential veto, added the activist after remarking that feminist groups will be on surveillance and mobilized.

Rocío Rosero, coordinator of the National Coalition of Women of Ecuador, described President Lasso’s attitude as "authoritarian" and even denied that the ruler has tried "criminalize women’s protest".

Rosero recalled that last week the Police harshly repressed a peaceful march by feminist groups, an incident that even had resonance in international organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) that condemned the repression.

In addition, the activist said that the presidential veto of the law on Abortion due to rape approved by the Assembly "misrepresents the meaning" of what the Constitutional Court ordered to define the regulations.

For this reason, Rosero said that the feminist groups will be attentive to the parliamentary debate and that, in parallel, they will maintain the mobilizations.

"The National Assembly has the great challenge of shelving that veto" of President Lasso and "has the obligation to reaffirm the law passed" by the legislature itself, he added. EFE

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