Salvadoran Congress shelved the proposal to decriminalize abortion

A El Salvador’s congressional commission filed a proposal to reform an article of the Penal Code to decriminalize abortion in the country, where abortion is totally prohibited, even in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the woman due to the malformation of the fetus.

The Legislation and Constitutional Points Commission, where the majority of the members make up the bench of the ruling party New Ideas of President Nayib Bukele, filed the Beatriz reform, the document prepared by women’s associations and feminist groups.

The initiative known as Reforma Beatriz, proposed the reform of Article 133 of the Penal Code of El Salvador to declare non-punishable the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in cases of risk to the health and life of women, when a fetal malformation with no possibility of survival outside the uterus is diagnosed; and when the pregnancy is the result of criminal acts of sexual violencel.

“It is a reform to criminal legislation that does not require changes in the Constitution of the Republic, since Article 1 also protects the lives of women, as dictated by the Constitutional Chamber in its Resolution 18-98”, explains the Association for the Decriminalization of abortion in El Salvador in a statement after hearing the decision of the ruling party deputies.

“We have witnessed the images of a poor debate, based on arguments and religious beliefs that reflect a profound ignorance of the realities faced by girls who live forced pregnancies and imposed maternity,” said the group.

Currently, pregnant people who suffer pregnancy complications and lead to spontaneous abortions are routinely accused of having performed an abortion and charged with aggravated homicide, whose prison term is 30 years. Between 2000 and 2014, at least 49 women were convicted of crimes related to the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador.

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The reform promoted by feminist groups is named after Beatriz Garcia, a woman who in 2013 asked the Salvadoran State for authorization to interrupt her pregnancy because it was unfeasible and for putting her life at risk. However, the The Constitutional Chamber forced her to continue with her pregnancy.

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