Human Lives Human Rights: Guatemala’s Congress approved on Tuesday a law ramping up the prison sentence for women who choose to have an abortion, while banning both gay marriage and teaching on sexual diversity.
The “Life and Family Protection Law” (Law 5272) punishes women who “have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out” with 10 years behind bars — more than three times the current sentence of three years.
It also punishes anyone who induces an abortion without a woman’s consent with up to 50 years in prison.
Abortion is only authorized in Guatemala when there is a threat to the mother’s life.
“Losing a pregnancy is devastating, and this law automatically turns a woman into a suspect even as she mourns her loss. They are criminalizing and penalizing miscarriages and that is dangerous,” center-left congresswoman Lucrecia Hernandez said.
The law introduces a reform to the Civil Code, which will now “expressly prohibit same-sex marriages” in Guatemala.
It would also ban public and private teaching initiatives on sexual diversity, which it describes as “promoting in children and teenagers policies or programs that tend to lead to diversion from their sexual identities at birth.”
Congresswoman Hernandez also described the law as “unconstitutional,” adding that it will stigmatize people and spark “intolerance” in society.
“This law should really be called a law to imprison and kill women. It is one of the most brazen things they are doing in this Legislature, and on top of it all, they are doing it on Women’s Day,” said center-left Congressman Samuel Perez.