Salvadoran parliament against therapeutic abortion in El Salvador

The Salvadoran parliament has given its support to a “Libro de la vida” (Book of Life), which calls abortion “an abominable crime,” precipitating a storm of criticism from women’s organizations that consider this blanket endorsement an evasion of serious debate on the issue.

The activists also say parliament’s decision runs counter to international conventions on women’s rights that El Salvador has ratified.

“These actions close the door on healthy debate on the crude and persistent reality” that this country is attempting to avoid, said Ima Guirola of the Institute of Women’s Studies (CEMUJER). Guirola said that the question “is not whether one is in favour of or against abortion, but what the state is going to do” about this practice, which is carried out illegally in unsafe conditions.
Health authorities do not have estimates of the number of illegal abortions performed in this impoverished Central American country of nearly six million people.

The stance taken by parliament will not contribute to “the formulation of public policies” in favour of women, Guirola told IPS.

The “Libro de la vida” is a declaration by Honduran lawmaker Marta Lorena Alvarado, which won the support of the Honduran Congress and was brought to El Salvador by the Catholic Church hierarchy, evangelical churches and the conservative Fundación Sí a la Vida (Yes to Life Foundation), which oppose the legalisation of therapeutic abortion.

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