QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s president, Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker, on Tuesday said he would propose tightening time limits for abortion in cases of rape after new rules were approved by the South American country’s National Assembly in February.
Last month Ecuadorian politicians voted to approve rules permitting abortion for pregnancies arising from rape until 12 weeks’ gestation, or up to 18 weeks for adult women belonging to indigenous groups or who live in rural areas.
However, Lasso has now sent changes to the National Assembly, including a limit of 12 weeks’ gestation for all adult women, regardless of where in the country they live or what community they belong to.
“We are all equal before our constitution and our laws,” Lasso said in a message posted on Twitter.
“Establishing legal differences between citizens based on places of birth or origins would go against this basic principle,” he added.
It was not clear whether Lasso’s proposed changes would apply to abortions in cases of rape for teens, where lawmakers had also approved limits until 18 weeks’ gestation.
Lasso’s objections will be sent to the National Assembly, where lawmakers will have 30 days to decide whether to accept Lasso’s proposed changes or to push through the rules approved in February.
Abortion has been legal in Ecuador since 1938 in cases when a woman’s life is at risk or when a rape survivor has an intellectual disability. In 2019 the assembly failed to pass legislation legalizing abortion for rape.
More than 21,000 abortions take place in Ecuador each year, according to feminist group Trenzando Feminismos, most of them in dangerous illegal clinics.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia and Oliver Griffin; Writing by Oliver Griffin. Editing by Gerry Doyle)