Ecuador at critical crossroads in push for abortion rights

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.


Ecuador abortion laws discriminate against minority ethnic women – report

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.


Ecuador Decriminalized Abortion In Rape Cases — What That Means For South America

May 20, 2021

Mary Louise Kelly
4-Minute Podcast

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.

Now on to South America and specifically to Ecuador, where the country's highest court has eased restrictions on abortion in cases of rape.


Ecuador abortion: National Assembly rejects easing law in rape cases

Ecuador abortion: National Assembly rejects easing law in rape cases

18 September 2019

Ecuador's parliament has rejected a controversial bill to allow abortion in cases of rape, a proposal that exposed divisions in the traditionally Catholic country.

Supporters of the reform pointed to what they say is an epidemic of rapes of girls and underage pregnancies.

Some opposed it on religious grounds saying innocent lives would be at risk.


Clashes erupt after Ecuador fails to decriminalize abortion for rape victims

Clashes erupt after Ecuador fails to decriminalize abortion for rape victims
Pro-choice activists say decision is a death sentence, after illegal abortions resulted in 15.6% of maternal deaths in 2014

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
Wed 18 Sep 2019

Clashes have erupted between pro-choice demonstrators and police outside Ecuador’s national assembly after lawmakers rejected a bill which would decriminalize abortion in cases of rape.

Abortion is illegal in Ecuador except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, or if the pregnancy is the result of the rape of a woman with mental disabilities.