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Controversy brews over new abortion guidelines in Peru

By Rachel Chase

Opponents say the guidelines have opened a door for unlimited abortions, while supporters are hailing it as an improvement in women’s healthcare.

Controversy brews over new abortion guidelines in Peru

(Photo: El Comercio)

Peru’s new abortion guidelines— which only came into effect this past Sunday— are already causing controversy.

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, Archbishop of Lima, who has been very vocal about his opposition to the new abortion guidelines, told RPP Noticias that the regulations would only make it easier for women to get abortions. “This is an open door for payments and bribes to be made to medical committees, because we know how Perú is,” said Cipriani.

“Textually [the guide says], that any kind of maternal health problem can be covered by this guide, as long as it puts the woman’s life at risk or causes a very serious or permanent threat to her health. It can’t just be any problem, that’s not valid,”the cardinal added.

However, some women’s rights activists are hailing the new guidelines as an important step forward. “This is a vindication of the rights of women,” said Brenda Alvarez of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (Promsex). Promsex and other groups held a vigil in support of the new guidelines outside the Ministry of Health in Lima.

Former Minister of Health Oscar Ugarte told press that the guidelines were meant to limit, not expand, access to abortion. “[Opponents are] in error when they say that his is about opening up more possibilities for abortion. No, in fact, to the contrary. What the protocol does is create norms to limit the possibilities for abuse. They’re specific cases.”

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