Representatives of Venezuela’s ruling party lead by President Hugo Chavez have presented two bills that would reform the country’s Penal Code and legalize abortion in cases of rape and incest. Representative Flor Rios argued that the measures were meant to “defend the life” of women who obtain clandestine abortions.
Several lawmakers, including some in the ruling party, were quick to reject the idea, but Rios said she was confident the measures would pass.
Representative Iris Varela, also a member of the ruling party, threw her support behind the measures and called on her colleagues not to “fall into the prejudices and false morals of the Catholic Church.”
The committee leader charged with reviewing the proposals, Nicolas Sosa, questioned the ruling party’s haste in getting the measures passed. “We haven’t even read the proposal” on abortion, he said, adding that it “is a delicate matter that merits consultation.”
In Venezuelan law abortion is currently punishable by six to twenty-four months in prison and is only allowed to save the life of the mother. Pro-life groups are calling on all Venezuelans to express their support for the unborn by sending emails and letters to their representatives.