Honduras seeks to lock in constitutional ban on abortion

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduran lawmakers are moving to lock in the country’s ban on abortions by making it explicit in the constitution.

The charter already states that “those who are yet to be born will be considered born, for the purposes of the law.” An amendment adopted Thursday by a large majority in the congress adds that an abortion “by the mother or any other third party” is prohibited.

Further, legislators want to make it difficult to end the ban. The amendment adds that the article could be changed only by a three-quarters majority of the congress, and decrees that “any laws passed subsequently that contradict this article will be null and void.”

It will go up for a second vote later this month.

Honduras is one of three Central American countries that have total bans on abortion, along with El Salvador and Nicaragua. Women in these countries also face a high incidence of sexual assault and unwanted pregnancies.

While Argentina legalized abortion in late December, Latin America continues to have some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, with abortion legal only in Argentina, Mexico City, Cuba and Uruguay.

Merlin Eguigure, a leader of the Visitación Padilla women’s group, called the abortion measure “an absurd and unnecessary legal abomination.”

“Whether we like abortion or not, and whether it is penalized or not, whether it is prohibited under the constitution, abortion does and will continue to exist,” she said.

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