A bill to decriminalise abortion in all cases of rape failed in the Ecuadorian legislature last week, amid opposition from the Church and civil organisations.
It would have allowed abortion also in cases of non-viable foetal deformity, incest, and non-consensual artificial insemination.
Sixty-five members of the unicameral National Assembly voted in favour, five short of the number needed for it to pass. Fifty-nine voted against the bill, and six abstained.
Abortion is legal in Ecuador only in cases of the rape of a woman with mental disabilities or when the mother’s life is determined to be at risk. The bill to decriminalise abortion in some cases was introduced to the full legislature in January.
The proposal was first made in 2016, and it was approved by the legislature’s Justice and the Structure of the State Commission in December 2018.
Some legislators proposed that instead of decriminalising the abortion of children conceived in rape, rapists be given greater penalties.
Tens of thousands of Ecuadorians marched on the streets of Guayaquil in June to protest the bill, as well as to support marriage, conscience protections, and parental rights.
Archbishop Alfredo José Espinoza Mateus of Quito issued a statement saying, “abortion cannot be the answer that a civilised society gives to the pain and anguish of women, men, and their families. Talking about abortion as a solution is a painful irony…abortion cannot be a ‘solution’, it is a drama, a failure of every society.”