Lima, Peru, May 9, 2020 / 13:00 pm
Peruvian congresswoman Luz Milagros Cayguaray Gambini has demanded the country’s health minister provide the legal and scientific basis for a directive that would allow abortion when a pregnant woman is infected with the novel coronavirus.
Abortion is illegal in Peru except when pregnancy would cause death or permanent harm to a pregnant woman.
On April 22, Peru’s Minister of Health Victor Zamora issued a directive calling for provision of emergency contraception in the country, and allowing abortion for pregnant women who test positive for the coronavirus.
In a May 5 letter, Cayguaray demanded Zamora to “Indicate what the legal basis” is for the directive that allows doctors to “end the pregnancy,” if the mother has contracted COVID-19.
The legislator also challenged Zamora to indicate “the scientific and medical basis the norm is based upon.”
At issue is whether a positive test for coronavirus is sufficient to establish that a pregnancy threatens the life of a woman. Gambini says that assertion is unproven and unfounded.
Cayguaray has also written to Dr. Enrique Guevara Ríos, director of the country’s Perinatal Maternal Institute, asking him to report how many pregnant women with COVID-19 have been treated to date, “how many have had their pregnancies terminated,” “on what grounds,” and “what current regulation has been applied to carry out the interruption of those pregnancies.”
The Arequipa Doctors for Life Association has criticized the health directive in a statement.