Lasso threatens to veto abortion bill if it goes beyond the Constitutional Court mandate

Jan 31, 2022 | 4 comments

President Guillermo Lasso is threatening to veto legislation being debated in the National Assembly if it goes beyond the Constitutional Court’s order to allow abortion in cases of rape. Some assembly members are proposing a broader revision of the current law, in line with abortion laws recently enacted in Argentina and Uruguay, where the decision is left to women.

President Guillermo Lasso

“I am determined to veto it if it goes beyond the mandate or the court,” Lasso said in a recent interview. “I cannot tell you if it will be a total or partial veto since we are still waiting for the final text of the proposed law.”

Last April, the Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion in all cases involving rape. Previously, it was only permitted for disabled women or if a mother’s life was endangered. Lasso has said he will abide by the court ruling

The proposal currently being considered by the Assembly does not require a formal rape complaint or a physical examination prior to an abortion. Some of the bill’s sponsors say it would not be practical to wait for a rape conviction since that can take as long as two years in the Ecuadorian legal system.

“Without refinement, I will veto this bill if it is approved by the full Assembly,” Lasso said. “I will abide by the court’s decriminalization ruling but I expect the legislation to maintain a narrow focus.”

“Everyone who knows me, including the leadership of the Assembly, is aware of the fact that I believe in the defense of life from conception until natural death. Based on my religious beliefs, I do not believe in abortion, just as I do not believe in the death penalty. Beyond the court’s ruling, I will not allow abortion.”

Former presidents Lenin Moreno and Rafael Correa, strict Roman Catholics like Lasso, were also opposed to abortion and blocked earlier attempts to change the law.