Abortion is not legal in Peru, even for cases of rape and incest. For years the leading cause of maternal morality in Peru was clandestine abortion. Women will seek out abortion whether it is legal or not. Illegalizing abortion does not prevent abortions, it kills women.
Last night on May 25th, 30 women demonstrated in front of Congress to defend their basic rights as human beings: to decide what they, and not somebody else, will and will not do with their bodies. The members of the group Déjala Decidir (Let Her Decide), stood before Congress in various stages of undress, in lavender capes, and with phrases painted on themselves explaining why it is important to legalize abortion for cases of rape. With flowers in hand they stood in silence as they let their bodies speak for them: “Let me decide,” “I think our bodies have given a clear message that we want to convey.”
The women began their protest in front of Congress, and then moved to Plaza San Martin. Their protest came on the eve of when Congress will debate the draft of a law that will decriminalize abortion in the case of rape. The actions of Déjala Decidir and the submission of the bill have prompted debate outside of Congress as well. Agrupacion Universitaria Riva-Aguero will organize a debate on Wednesday May 27th at 6:00pm at Anfiteatro Zolezzi de la Facultad de Derecho PUCP to discuss the issue.
It has been over two years since the UN asked Peru to decriminalize abortion for cases of rape and incest. Peru does not stand out amongst other countries in Latin America, however, when it comes to an abysmal support of women’s rights. While Peru does permit abortion in the case of the woman’s life, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic do not permit abortion even to save the life of the woman. Only two other countries, the Vatican City and Malta, prohibit abortion to save the woman’s life.