Respect for human rights should be constant throughout the world by 2022. However, there are still countries that are slow to support them, such as Guatemala.
Initiative 5272 is a bill for the protection of life and the family that is focused on the penalties for abortion and prohibiting homosexual marriage in the country. Under the new legislation, women who had induced their abortion or had given their consent for someone else to carry it faced a minimum of five to 50 years in prison.
It was shelved with 119 votes in favor out of 160 by the Guatemalan Congress just a week after its passing due to critics from various social sectors who considered that the legislation promoted hatred against the LGBTQ+ community and violated the rights of women who wanted to decide on their bodies. The shame will not pass quickly for the legislators who initially approved the law.
According to the BBC Mundo network, President Alejandro Giammattei had warned that he would veto the legislation as it was unconstitutional and given the strong social reaction against it generated.
Amidst the current situation, the Guatemalan media outlet Quorum prepared a report in which it pointed out the irregularities in the drafting of the law in addition to its legal and medical deficiencies. In the Amparo presented by the lawyer Mara Isabel Carrascosa and Fátima Aldana before the Constitutional Court, they describe a serious error by including a concept of abortion that does not correspond.
In the decree they approved, abortion was defined as the “natural or provoked death of the embryo or fetus at any stage of its development, from conception to birth.” However, the natural loss of a pregnancy is called “spontaneous abortion,” and this cannot be punished or included in the Penal Code since it is caused by causes beyond the woman’s control.
Both the lawyers and the opposition deputy point out that when talking about spontaneous abortion within the Penal Code, women that are criminalized must demonstrate that the loss of their pregnancy was not caused before receiving medical attention, which would put their lives at risk.
Unequivocally, Congress archived the law due to all of the backlash it received from its citizens and residents of the world as it called the country “pro-life”. Not as a result of transitioning to a respectful legal framework that considers minorities without regarding Christiniany as the main denominator.