AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Bishops condemn the bill that allows abortion even in cases of poverty

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


La Paz (Agenzia Fides) - The Bolivian Episcopal Conference is contrary to Parliament’s draft law laying down various causes that justify abortion, including poverty. "The proposal distorts the criminal justice system, introducing poverty as a reason for the impunity for crimes such as infanticide and euthanasia, as if being poor is a sufficient justification to violate any law", say the Bishops in a statement sent to Fides.
The reform, which is part of the project of the new Code of Penal System in the Country, is being studied by the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. Article 157 provides for the practice of abortion during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, and once, if the woman lives in the street or in extreme poverty without sufficient resources. A woman can abort if she is already the mother of three or more children or if she is a student.
The project also provides that the interruption may occur at any time of the pregnancy if there is a future risk to the life or to the overall health of the woman, and when there is fetal malformation incompatible with life. Currently, abortion requires legal permission for all cases, except when the pregnancy results from violence, rape and incest or when the life and health of the mother is at risk.
Organizations in favor of women's rights in Bolivia, which is one of the Countries in the region with major sexual violence, calculate that 185 illegal abortions are performed every day. The Catholic Church says that the interruption of a pregnancy "devastates a woman's body, with psychology consequences". "The state is obliged to create public policies aimed at improving the lives of people as well as educational policies of support for pregnant women", say the Bishops. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 15/03/2017)