Peru Moves Towards Legalising Abortion

30 November 2009

A Peruvian Congressional Commission has issued a proposal to allow abortion in certain circumstances, including when a woman or girl becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Abortion is currently illegal in Peru unless the mother's life is in danger. Rights groups say that more than 370,000 illegal abortions are carried out in Peru each year, though this figure is contested by anti-abortion activists.

The proposal has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church in Peru, and the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, has described it as a "death penalty".

In December, the Commission will submit its report to the President of Congress, Luis Alva Castro. He will decide whether or not the issue should be debated in Congress.

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    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

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    Human rights violations were widespread during the twenty years after the initiation of armed conflict in 1980. Efforts to convict perpetrators since the war's end have made only limited progress. Today, concerns remain over the treatment of those engaged in social protest, particularly against strategically important investment projects.

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