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Lawmakers in Guatemala Increase the Punishment for Abortion

Timothy Tai/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP, File

Guatemala’s Congress approved a law this week that punishes abortion with up to 25 years in prison, Reuters reported Tuesday. This move comes after several countries in South America have moved the opposite direction and decriminalized abortion, as Townhall has covered


Reuters noted that the law, which was promoted the the conservative Viva Party,  also prohibits same-sex marriage and “sexual diversity” in schools. The legislation was approved by a “large majority of lawmakers” and President Alejandro Giammattei.

The penalty for women who recieve an abortion in Guatamala is now 10 years. Previously, it was three years. Doctors in Guatemala who perform an abortion could spend more than double that amount of time in prison.

The country’s human rights ombudsman, Jordan Rodas, reportedly said outside of Congress he would challenge it on human rights grounds, describing it as a “setback to freedoms."

The Hill reported that Democratic Rep. Norma Torres (CA), who was born in Guatemala, criticized the law, saying that rape victims will “endure more suffering” under the legislation.

"Time and time again they have proven to be on the wrong side of history, as they are doing now with their outrageous law to punish victims of abuse instead of their abusers," she added.

Last month, Colombia decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks gestation, which is just before the end of the second trimester of pregnancy. This came after both Mexico and Argentina decriminalized abortion.

In the United States, the Supreme Court is reviewing a case surrounding a law in Mississippi that outlaws abortion at 15 weeks gestation, which is mainstream in Europe. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could overturn landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S. 


In her amicus brief filed ahead of Dobbs, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch urged the court to overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, arguing that scientific and cultural advancements make abortion no longer neccessary.

“Today, adoption is accessible and on a wide scale women attain both professional success and a rich family life, contraceptives are more available and effective, and scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability,” Fitch said in the brief. “States should be able to act on those developments. But Roe and Casey shackle States to a view of the facts that is decades out of date.”

Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Fitch continued. “So the question becomes whether this Court should overrule those decisions. It should.”

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