On the 9th of November a bill was approved by the Peruvian congress that recognises that a human life begins at conception.
This new legislation therefore protects the rights of the unborn child from that time. Before this bill was passed, Peruvian legislation stated that a person can only be a subject of law after birth.
The new law declares that from the moment of conception, the unborn child has an independent personality and distinct genetic identity, separate from that of his or her mother. Like every other human being, he or she is entitled to integrity, life, and dignity.
This bill was first introduced by Congresswoman Milagros Aguayo two years ago. Aguayo is an evangelical pastor and a member of Peruvian conservative party Renovación Popular (Popular Renewal)
The legislation had been previously approved in April of this year, however, there had been some changes made by executive powers after it was passed. Fortunately, the bill came back to congress and finally on November 9th it was approved with 72 votes in favour and 26 opposed. There were just six abstentions.
Physician and priest, Father Pablo Augusto Meloni, who is known for his pro-life views has stated that this new legislation “opens a new phase in the struggle against abortion in Peru” He continued “Administrative measures that currently favour the execution of abortions must now be revised and suspended. We must be vigilant,"
While several Latin American countries have decriminalised abortion, including Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, and others, like Brazil, permit it under certain conditions, Peru remains one of the most restrictive countries in this regard.
However, pro-life movements worry that organisations pushing for the legalisation of abortion in Peru will continue to abuse the country's current legal framework in order to further the practise. For this reason, they saw the passing of this bill, protecting the rights of conceived but unborn children, as a significant win.
Susan Vargas, the leader of the 40 Days for Life initiative in Peru, stated that “This year we have already had 10 of the so-called therapeutic abortions performed in Peru. That law came at a good moment,”. She explained that the organisation works in seven major cities in Peru and recruits roughly 200 volunteers, all of whom identify as Catholic. Congresswoman Aguayo invited Vargas and other pro-life leaders to collaborate on the bill two years ago.
Vargas stated that pro-life movements need to keep up their efforts to dismantle the ideology of abortion and offer genuine assistance to women who are enduring crisis pregnancies.
Photo Credit: Corso por la Vida y la Familia