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HRW: Ecuador abortion laws harming rape victims

Ecuador's criminal code, which prohibit abortions even in the case of rape, threatens the health of victims of sexual violence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF; press release] Friday. Ecuador's abortion laws impose prison terms ranging from one to five years for women who obtain abortions. In the press release accompanying the report, HRW women's rights researcher Amanda Klasing declared that women who are victimized by sexual violence should not be punished for getting an abortion:

A woman or girl who has suffered the trauma of rape shouldn't have to face the prospect of going to jail if she chooses to get an abortion. Criminalizing abortion for rape victims not only violates women's and girls' rights, it may put their health or even their lives at risk.
Ecuador is currently debating changes to its criminal code, although it is unclear whether penalties for obtaining abortions will be lifted or decreased.

Abortion [JURIST news archive] continues to be an extremely controversial issue both in the US and abroad. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] struck down [JURIST report] an Arizona law that disqualified health providers which perform abortions from receiving public funds. Also last week Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] sued the Indiana Department of Health, challenging a regulation that requires clinics that dispensed abortion pills to meet regulatory requirements of surgical facilities [JURIST report], even when they do not provide surgical procedures. Earlier this month Wisconsin appealed an injunction [JURIST report] blocking its abortion law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. In July Ireland's president signed the country's first abortion bill into law [JURIST report], legalizing the practice in exceptional cases where doctors deem a woman's life at risk.

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