by Paulina Ponce, Program Officer, Planned Parenthood Global
8 September 2021
CWRSA Blog (republished by International Campaign for Safe Abortion)
Over the past five years, Ecuador has seen marked change. For the first time in the country’s history, Ecuador’s legislature supported an earnest and public debate on the importance of decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape during the criminal code reforms in 2019, and shortly thereafter, Ecuador’s highest court ruled that to criminalize abortion in cases of rape was unconstitutional.
This life-changing court ruling opens up the possibility for all women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence to freely access an abortion, if they choose, and marks a milestone in the fight for access to legal abortion in Ecuador. Even more importantly, women’s organizations prompted a shift in the way abortion is discussed in the media, what we call the “social destigmatization” of the right to choose.
Varshunn Bhan Miskeen & Aditya Pandey
August 7, 2021
With the Constitutional Court of Ecuador passing the verdict of decriminalizing abortion in all instances of rape, Ecuador has joined the group of countries who have decriminalized abortion in selective cases. The passing of this verdict has allowed the Ecuadorian women who had been raped and wanted abortion, to no longer be penalised for their actions. The judges of the Ecuador Constitutional Court had decriminalized the two articles with the ratio of 7 against 2 in favour of the verdict. Before, the law only allowed for this procedure only in the instance of critical risk to woman’s health or if a raped woman had a mental disability. Abortion under the two selective conditions has been legal since 1938.
In the largely conservative nation, women can be sentenced to up to two years in prison for having an abortion.
By Natalie Alcoba
20 Jul 2021
Ana Cristina Vera could tell countless stories of women she has helped extricate from the jaws of Ecuador’s severe anti-abortion laws, but the lawyer and feminist organiser always starts with one: Carla’s.
In 2014, on her way to work in the city of Esmeraldes, Carla – a name Vera, her lawyer, uses to protect her identity – fell down a set of stairs. She picked herself up, only to later discover that she was bleeding. She assumed it was her period, which was two weeks late, and got medication from a friend for the pain, Vera told Al Jazeera.
Greatest Harm for Indigenous, Afro-Descendent People Living in Poverty
July 14, 2021
Human Rights Watch
(Washington, D.C.) – Ecuador’s laws
criminalizing abortion violate the rights and risk the lives and health of
women and girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 128-page report, “‘Why Do They Want to Make Me Suffer Again?’ The Impact of
Abortion Prosecutions in Ecuador” documents how these laws are having
widespread harmful consequences in Ecuador, costing lives through increased
maternal mortality and morbidity, cutting women and girls off from essential
services, and undermining broader efforts to promote sexual and reproductive
health. Women and girls charged with abortion often experience violations of
their rights to medical confidentiality and due process, and face significant
obstacles to accessing quality legal representation. The prosecutions affect
not only women who wish to end an unwanted pregnancy but also those who
experience miscarriages or obstetric emergencies, or urgently require
Criminalisation disproportionately affects indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian women and exacerbates inequality, says Human Rights Watch
Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
Wed 14 Jul 2021
Gladys, an indigenous woman from rural Ecuador, went to hospital after injecting poison into her stomach to end her pregnancy. Doctors went straight to the police, and she was sentenced to two months in jail for having an abortion with consent.
Elsewhere in the South American country, a 20-year-old Afro-Ecuadorian woman went to hospital after a fall, and found out she was pregnant and miscarrying. She was swiftly arrested and spent four months awaiting trial, where she was cleared.
May 20, 2021
Mary Louise Kelly
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with sociologist and lawyer Ana Cristina Vera about what Ecuador's recent expansion of abortion decriminalization means for reproductive rights in South America.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Now on to South America and specifically to Ecuador, where the country's highest court has eased restrictions on abortion in cases of rape.
Advocates say court ruling that decriminalises abortion in rape cases is an important step, but struggle continues.
By Vincent Ricci
7 May 2021
Quito, Ecuador – Women’s rights advocates have hailed a recent court ruling that will ease restrictions on abortion in cases of rape in Ecuador, the latest country in Latin America to be swept up in the “green wave” abortion rights movement.
In a 7-2 vote on April 28, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador deemed unconstitutional a previous ban that outlawed abortions except in cases where a woman’s life was in danger, or if a woman with a mental disability was raped.
Ecuador's Constitutional Court decriminalises abortion in cases of rape, a major step in Catholic-majority Latin America where termination of pregnancy is largely taboo.
Apr 28, 2021
Ecuador's Constitutional Court on Wednesday decriminalised abortion in cases of rape, the country's human rights ombudsman announced, a major step in Catholic-majority Latin America where termination of pregnancy is largely taboo.
Ombudsman Freddy Carrion announced the court's decision on Twitter, and said the ruling "was possible thanks to the women and feminist groups who have consistently battled for a more fair and egalitarian society."
Human Rights Watch
July 15, 2020
Human Rights Watch respectfully requests that the Honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights accept us as Friends of the Court, so that we may submit for consideration this statement briefly summarizing Human Rights Watch research and legal analysis of children’s rights issues relevant to the case of Guzmán Albarracín vs. Ecuador.
The case before the court pertains to the sexual exploitation and abuse of Paola Guzmán Albarracín by state officials in the public school she attended. Guzmán Albarracín became pregnant after her school’s vice principal sexually abused her, following which he asked her to get an abortion in the school’s medical service. When she sought an abortion from the school’s doctor, he agreed to help her only if he had sex with him. Guzmán Albarracín died by suicide in 2002 at age 16.
Pandemic further hinders safe abortion in Latin America
By Carlos Christian
April 9, 2020
Calls decreased, but text messages increased. They cannot speak because they hear them. They cannot say in front of their families that they seek help, that they need to abort. Las Comadres, a feminist network in Ecuador that provides information to women who want to terminate their pregnancies with drugs, has had to change its communication channels in recent weeks. Telephone calls are becoming increasingly difficult. Isolation, imposed as a mitigation measure by Covid-19, has limited the freedom of those seeking access to an abortion, but not the determination of those who are determined to do so.
Verónica Vera, one of the sixty Ecuadorians who responds to requests for accompaniment, now through platforms such as Telegram, says that in March requests for support increased by 25%. Women who want to abort will do so even in a health emergency, and the public health system in Latin America seems not ready to respond. “The difficulty of mobilizing due to the measures adopted by the pandemic, the collapsed medical services and the lack of privacy within prolonged confinements could lead to a setback in Latin America,” he warns.