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News from Latin America: New Challenges to Life in Ecuador: Pro-Lifers Face Harassment and a Hostile Constitution

Ecuador is debating a new Constitution.

While this provides the international pro-abortion lobby with a good opportunity to eliminate the legal protection of the unborn, it also provides us pro-lifers an opportunity to defend it. As it stands now, the current Constitution of Ecuador says that: “the State shall secure the right to life from the time of conception…”(Art. 49). This made explicit the State’s opposition to abortion by specifically defining life as beginning at the moment of conception.

After some debate, the latest draft of the New Constitution favors the pro-abortion position supported by Assembly members of President Correa’s left-wing patty. The new draft contains a “right to life,” but removes the crucial wording, “from the time of conception” (Art. l), and includes the polemic (and invented) “sexual rights” (Art. 6) and “reproductive rights” (Art. 7). Catholic Bishops, evangelical churches and pro-life organizations have protested repeatedly against this change. 700,000 Catholic signatures and 40,000 Evangelical ones have been ignored until today. On July 9, 40,000 people marched to Montecristi (where the Assembly meetings take place), and made it clear that they will vote NO in the next referendum if these articles do not change. As of now, the polls show an even three-way split of the votes among “Yes,” “No,” and “Undecided” on this highly sensitive abortion issue.

A Leftist President and a Leftist Assembly

President Rafael Correa was elected in 2006 with a pledge to “re-found” the country, and build the “socialism of the 21st century.” Following closely in the dictatorial footsteps of Hugo Chavez, Correa began this process by calling for the election of a constituent assembly to rewrite Ecuador’s constitution. For that election, the rules of the game were planned meticulously. All private propaganda was prohibited and requirements to register a list of candidates were minimal. The outcome: an incredible number of candidates with the same tiny slot on the public TV channel, which resulted in very few chances for any opposition to Correa to air.

In light of this, it was straightforward for Correa’s party to get a majority in the National Assembly elected. Subsequently, pro-abortion radical feminist leaders like Maria Paula Romo introduced the “sexual and reproductive rights” language and blocked the phrase “from the time of conception,” insisting that women have the right to have a “therapeutic abortion”. Their intent could not he clearer: abortion-on-demand for Ecuador, set in stone in the new constitution. Not only that, but they seem to be willing to trample any and all human rights to get there.

From Harassment to Death Threats

Many pro-life leaders who are in touch with Latin American PRI office (and even some politicians) cannot communicate or send e-mail freely. There have been many instances of espionage, and these pro-lifers are now forced to be cautious with their phone and email communication. This was the case with Alexis Mera, current Legal Secretary of President Correa, who was denounced publicly by a new group called “Movimiento de Mujeres de Ecuador” (Women’s Movement of Ecuador), with accusations clearly linking hack to electronic snooping. This group found statements from Mera in which he said that a rewrite of the constitution would be a political disaster because of the opposition of the Catholic Church. Where did they find these statements? His email.

The feminists used the information they gathered from the e-mail to accuse Mera of being a Catholic, and thus having no right to meddle in public; issues. In another example of intimidating behavior, representatives Rossana Queirolo and Diana Acosta, members of Correa’s party, were expelled because of their opposition to the new articles. These politicians became the principal voices in defense of human life without exception, and the protection of traditional marriage, and consequentially became the target of attacks and harassment by members of their own patty. They were literally humiliated and insulted in front of all their colleagues and then expelled.

As a result, Queirolo and Acosta decided to leave the ruling party and both are now part of the opposition as independent representatives. Since this happened, threats against them have increased in number and intensity. Insults and harassment through a wide range of mediums, including letters, e-mails and telephone calls, have recently turned into death threats. Other pro-life leaders, part of the “Fundacion Familia y Futuro” (Family and Future Foundation), Sonia Maria Crespo and Jorge Rivas, have received e-mails with death threats from a radical group calling itself “Comité Salvador Allende”. Amparo Medina, a member of the Ecuadorian Pro-life Network, also received an anonymous letter from the same group with this warning: “Remember that accidents happen. Remember they happen daily in Ecuador. Stop your anti-woman and homophobic campaign.”

Pray for Ecuadorian Pro-Lifers

Please, pray for Ecuadorian Pro-lifers and for the unborn children in Ecuador. The Population Research Institute congratulates all of Ecuador’s valiant pro-lifers and is proud that Carlos Polo traveled to Ecuador to collaborate with them for the defense of life and family.

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