Congressman with alleged terrorism ties backs effort to decriminalize abortion in Peru

Congressman Guillermo Bermejo Congressman Guillermo Bermejo | ANDINA / Renato Pajuelo and Pexels

A Peruvian congressman who is being investigated for ties to the Shining Path terrorist organization is supporting a new bill to decriminalize abortion in the country. 

Guillermo Bermejo, a member of the Peru Libre (Free Peru) ruling party, signed on to the bill after it was introduced Dec. 10. Introduced by leftist congresswoman Ruth Luque of the Juntos por el Perú party (Together for Peru), the bill would decriminalize abortion in cases of rape. 

Peru's Public Prosecutor's Office is currently asking for a 20 year prison sentence for Bermejo for his alleged ties to the Shining Path, a Marxist rebel group responsible for at least 31,000 deaths in the country since the 1980s.

In a Dec. 13 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, Peruvian pro-life leader Giuliana Calambrogio, who holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family from the University of Navarra, said Bermejo’s support for the bill shows he does not have women’s best interests at heart. 

“I am very struck by the fact that this bill is being pushed by the leftist Peru Libre, which during the campaign appeared to be pro-life,” Calambrogio said. 

“However, congressmen like Mr. Bermejo, accused of terrorism, clearly sign on to this bill because they’re not interested in protecting women, but rather the contributions or money that comes from [those who support] the gender agenda and abortion."

Former Peruvian congressional candidate Giuliana Calambrogio. Facebook
Former Peruvian congressional candidate Giuliana Calambrogio. Facebook

Twenty-two members of congress from the left and center of the political spectrum have signed onto the bill, representing parties such as Popular Action (liberal), Alliance for Progress (center-right), Free Peru (leftist), and the Morado Party (centrist). 

Peruvian law considers abortion a crime except in cases where the mother's health is at risk. Peru’s Constitution recognizes that “the conceived person is a subject of rights under the law...” while the Code on Children and Adolescents states that “every human being is considered a child from conception to twelve years of age.”

The current bill proposes amending Article 119 of the Penal Code so that abortion in cases of rape would be considered a non-punishable offense.

Calambrogio, a former congressional candidate for the conservative Popular Renewal party, told ACI Prensa that the introduction of this bill "doesn’t surprise her at all,” but "it’s a cause for concern for her."

"These people have an incessant campaign, very well financed from abroad, to implement abortion in our country, despite the fact that Peru is a pro-life nation that protects the life of the conceived child, just as our Constitution says," she explained.

Calambrogio said the new bill to decriminalize abortion "has very little support, has no clarity in the details and proposes abortion as the only solutiion to fight violence against women."

“Clearly, this bill isn’t concerned with women, but only with decriminalizing abortion. The text mentions that abortion caused by rape should be allowed, but the need to report the rape or to go through a forensic doctor [to do so] isn’t explicit, and there’s no mention of a [gestational] limit for the practice," she said.

The pro-life leader pointed out that this bill doesn’t stipulate “measures against the rapist”, either by “toughening the penalties” or by “speeding up of the judicial, prosecutorial and police processes.”

She also lamented that the unborn child is "unprotected" as if it were "a second-class being.”

Calambrogio pointed out that the term “forced pregnancy” is mentioned, but that “forced abortion isn’t mentioned, which is dramatic, because many times the systematic abuser, who has subjugated a woman, can take her to get an abortion [with no consequences], since a police report wasn’t required.”

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Another objectionable point in the bill, Calambrogio said, “is its Article 6, which would introduce Comprehensive Sexual Education, making it legally obligatory, and whose guidelines are unknown.”

"It would be two for one, taking down legal protection for the unborn and forcing everyone to receive sexual education strongly supported and promoted by NGOs," she criticized.

Calambrogio reiterated her concern about the viability of this bill, since she considers Peru to be currently in the midst of "very great polarization" where "there is no cohesion within the political parties and where the voting blocs don’t necessarily respect the party platform.”

“The abortion lobbies don't just run big campaigns, they know how to buy votes. We have seen negotiating for votes involving the legalization of abortion in Argentina recently and that could easily happen in our country, especially in the midst of the political crisis, the crisis in values and with many congressional representatives who could sell out the welfare of the unborn for a mess of pottage,” she said.

The pro-life leader said she hopes that “a high level debate will take place” on the legislation. 

Calambrogio noted that "if we want a country free of violence against women, we must invest in prevention, education, accelerate judicial processes, work on health policies and support for women who are victims of rape, and protect the unborn child as a State."

“We can’t play with the value of life. The day when the life of the human being loses value will begin its instrumentalization, commercialization and murder without the slightest shame, as we have seen in other countries, where it begins with the decriminalization of abortion for rape and ends up legalizing it up to nine months,” she stressed.

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Finally, she said that pro-lifers will be on "a war footing, vigilant, explaining to the congressmen, one by one, the real needs of raped women, the importance of respect for life that goes beyond any negotiating."

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