President Guillermo Lasso announced Tuesday his partially veto of the National Assembly law allowing abortions for rape victims. He insists that the period in which abortions are allowed should be 12 weeks for all abortions and be reviewed by the court.
Lasso said the Assembly went beyond the requirements of the Constitutional Court ruling in making abortion legal in the case of rape. “My objective is to assure that the new law be in absolute agreement with the ruling of the Court but does not exceed the intention,” he said. “There are two areas where the Assembly exceeded the prescription of the ruling and this must be amended.” In all, the president made 61 comments suggesting changes in wording of the new law.
His biggest change is to make abortion legal for a period of 12 in all cases. The Assembly legislation stipulates that the period can be extended to 18 weeks for women and girls living in rural areas due to limited access to legal and health care services. “I do not see this as a reasonable necessity since services can be added to assist victims in remote and indigenous regions.”
Lasso is also asking for additional involvement of the court to make certain that a rape occurred and that abortion is justified.
In addition, he wants the Assembly to add language defining the professional responsibility of health care providers who perform abortions. “There should be a conscientious objection provision that allows doctors and nurses opposed to abortion to excuse themselves from the activity,” he said in his comments.
Lasso repeated his religious objection to abortion but said he respects the decision of the court in cases of rape. “I have said for almost a year that I will abide by the Constitutional Court ruling, understanding the special and difficult circumstances of pregnancy by rape,” he said.
The National Assembly has 30 days to consider Lasso’s objections to the law and to make amendments.