The Campaign for the Right to a Legal, Safe and Free Abortion celebrates a victory. The Commission debate of the project on the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Law and the favorable resolution for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion, achieved on November 1st2011, is a historical milestone that announces that the debate will continue in Congress next year.
The Campaign, made up of over 300 organizations from different areas, has played an important role in informing public opinion and encouraging honest debate. A public opinion which increasingly opens to abortion decriminalization and legalization, and it is increasingly aware that the practice of abortion that has to do with public health, with social equality, women’s rights and with enhancing democracy.
The Campaign’s draft law enables the voluntary interruption of pregnancy up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and beyond that time frame in cases of violation, serious fetus malformation, or risks to the woman’s life and health.
In view of the opposite versions heard these days, we believe it is appropriate to give to the public our version of the facts, not only of November 1st. The denial by Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Carlos Vega, of the resolution he himself had approved on November 1st, at a meeting of the criminal legislation commission which he presides, and which he himself had summoned, is untenable. Untenable, but in agreement with his inability to keep his word, something that has always characterized him. During this year, MP Vega – summoned a similar meeting on September 27th, though most of the MPs who had signed the Campaign’s project had made it clear that it would be convenient to summon the meeting after the presidential elections.
– made known his own draft law for non punishable abortion law during that meeting, and then postponed it for November 1st given the pressure of his peers.
– at the beginning of the meeting held on November 1st he tried to put aside the draft laws for the legalization of abortion to focus on the draft law that he himself had presented. The firm stand taken by many of the MPs present against a resolution taken under those conditions was enough for Vega to immediately include both draft laws which he had just put aside.
– the day after the resolution, when the news was all over the media, he denied it, as if it were possible for him as president of the criminal legislation commission not to know how to count the votes of those present, not to know how to count the Commission MPs present, not to know how to estimate the resulting proportion so as to consider it a majority vote.
The truth is that there were 12 MPs present when vote was taken, not 15, as MP Vilma Ibarra made it clear at that moment and as it is entered in the verbatim record of the meeting, a record that also contains the detailed discussion of the meeting, the opinions given by all the MPs from all political parties, and the final agreement with the resolution.
Abortion decriminalization and legalization is already under debate. The Campaign is a driving force and a main actor in this project, it has been, it is, and it will be present in every debate on abortion criminalization and legalization that takes place inside and outside Parliament. We are still in campaign, we continue to strengthen, in every instance, the commitment and force necessary so that the social change that took place in our country as regards the illegality of abortion may transform into a change in Law, one that reflects and respects the decisions women take every day about their sexuality and reproduction. Thus we ratify the permanent effort put into the implementation of the Comprehensive Sexual Education laws, and the full applicability of the Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation National Program, and for the speedy passing of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Law.