Guatemalan pro-lifer concerned about president-elect’s position on abortion, gender ideology

Bernardo Arévalo Bernardo Arévalo, president-elect of Guatemala. | Credit: Government of Guatemala

Elena Gaytán, communications director for The Family Matters Association (AFI) in Guatemala, expressed her concern about the position of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo and his political entourage regarding issues such as abortion and gender ideology.

“Unfortunately we do not see a very favorable outlook regarding these issues. We hope that there is no ideological imposition on the part of the new officials, but that they abide by the constitutional order, the legislation, and the current treaties,” she commented in a recent interview with “EWTN Noticias.”

On Aug. 20, Bernardo Arévalo, a leftist politician and leader of the Semilla (Seed) Movement, won the presidential elections for the 2024–2027 term with 58% of the vote, beating his challenger Sandra Torres by more than a 20-point advantage.

According to Gaytán, Arévalo’s party and part of his team are favorable toward gender ideology, “since they have taken advantage of opportunities to celebrate, for example, ‘diversity’ or gay marriage.”

“Also, some members of the party, who are also members of Congress, have voted in favor of proposals to change the legislation regarding abortion in Guatemala and show a quite favorable tendency toward feminism,” she noted.

To promote Christian values in the country, the AFI authored “The Life and Family Declaration” and invited candidates to sign the document, a public statement of commitment to “the protection of human life from conception to natural death; the family, made up of a marriage between a man and a woman; and freedom.”

In addition, the candidates signing it pledged “to actively work for issues such as the eradication of violence and malnutrition, and access to basic health and education services, as part of the protection of life.”

“In the specific case of Bernardo Arévalo and his vice president,” Gaytán pointed out, “they did not attend [the ceremony] or sign the document. It’s a clear sign that they do not agree with the protection of these fundamental rights and freedoms in Guatemala.”

However, during the campaign, the party denied that it intends to make changes to current abortion legislation in Guatemala. The law in Guatemala regarding abortion is incorporated into the penal code and establishes penalties of imprisonment for both women who abort and the abortionist. However, an exception is made for cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

According to Gaytán, the president-elect professes the Catholic religion, but “religious discourse was not really part of his campaign.” Furthermore, she is concerned that Arévalo has repeatedly emphasized that no type of discrimination will be allowed and that so-called “hate speech” will be prosecuted by the state.

“We view with great concern the issue of gender ideology and the prosecution of dissent, because during a forum with other candidates, Arévalo mentioned that the government will prosecute hate speech. But, who defines what hate speech is and what will be prosecuted?” the pro-family leader questioned.

“Here we see that, as in other countries, the door can be opened to censorship, to ideological prosecution of people who question gender ideology and abortion,” she added.

For Gaytán, the defense of life and family in Guatemala is at a crucial moment: “Politicians and young people who defend life and family, we have to wake up and work for the formation of a front that truly represents and defends these interests.”

“It’s an important moment in the sense that we are going to have to be much more aware of legislative activity and the treaties that Guatemala may sign at the international level,” she explained.

Finally, she stressed the need for people to create a new party that represents their values and principles, and that can participate in the next elections.

“We hope that citizens will be much more aware, monitoring all the legislative initiatives and also preparing for a future in which we can really vote for an option that represents Guatemalans,” she concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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