UN pressures El Salvador to legalize abortion

Two pro-life leaders in El Salvador have condemned the recent pressure from the United Nations, urging the country to legalize abortion.

The president of the foundation Si a la Vida (Yes to Life), Regina Cardenal, told CNA that this kind of pressure is nothing new. She added that it is not uncommon for the U.N. to attempt to change a country's laws to permit abortions.

Last week the U.N. commission circulated a memo demanding El Salvador “take measures to prevent women who seek treatment in public hospitals from being reported by health care workers or administrators for the crime of abortion.”

Cardenal noted that “several years ago, the New York Times published a series of lies about the laws” in El Salvador, even alleging that women were being jailed for having abortions. “They said there were women who had been sentenced to 30 years.  However, we looked into it and there was not a single conviction.

“They spread lies because abortion is a business, and therefore the pressure is not going to end,” she added.

She also questioned the conduct of the director of the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women, Julia Evelyn Martinez, who pledged “to international organizations that she would review the laws that protect the unborn.”

“The country’s president, Mauricio Funes, disavowed her because he had no intention of ever changing the laws,” Cardenal added, referring to the “Brazilian Consensus” signed by Martinez.

The “Brazilian Consensus” is an international document signed in July 2010 at the 11th Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is organized by the U.N.  The document, which promotes abortion in Latin America and is constantly cited by feminist organizations, lacks any legal authority to impose the practice on countries in the region. Numerous countries, such as Chile, Costa Rica, Peru and Nicaragua have questioned the legal value of the accord.

Cardenal said it would be very difficult to change current law in El Salvador because it would imply “changing the Constitution—something very complicated at this point.”  The Salvadoran Constitution recognizes personhood from the moment of conception.

Salvadoran pro-life leader Georgina Rivas also told CNA: “If we don’t protect human life with appropriate care, how can we say we are protecting any manifestation of that life? The evidence of this profound error is that a woman’s freedom to harm her body, her psyche, her spirit and the most precious of gifts that she has - which is the life she carries in her womb - is being promoted.”

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