Ecuador’s High Court Backs Decriminalizing Abortion for Rape

Apr 29, 2021
10:29 AM

In this September 28, 2020 file photo, women hold letters forming the phrase “Legal Abortion Now” during an abortion-rights protest in Quito, Ecuador. The South American country’s constitutional court ruled on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in favor of decriminalizing abortion in the case of rape.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa, File)

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday in favor of decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, a decision that paves the way for laws imposing prison sentences in such cases to be changed.

The court’s judges voted 7-2 in favor of declaring two articles of the country’s penal code unconstitutional. The decision came in response to a petition from seven women’s, feminist and human rights groups.

The court now can demand the National Assembly reform the two articles or issue an order with deadlines and guidelines for its application.

Despite an order not to hold public gatherings, anti- and pro-abortion groups held demonstrations outside the Constitutional Court.

In the hours before the ruling, María de Lourdes Alcívar, the wife of President-elect Guillermo Lasso, said on her Twitter account: “We pray to God that abortion is not approved in our country. It is murder.”

Meanwhile, one of Ecuador’s best-known women’s rights activists, Lolo Miño, tweeted: “I am crying as I write this because I don’t believe it! Today, girls and women who are the victims of rape in Ecuador have a second chance.”