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Honduran Congress to set strong abortion laws ‘in stone’

The Honduran Congress has moved to set their strong abortion laws ‘in stone’ after a constitutional amendment was brought forward that would require three quarters of the Congress to vote in favour of changing the abortion law.

On Thursday 21st January, the Congress voted 88 to 28 in favour of measures that would require a majority, 96 out of 128 members of Congress, in order to modify the existing abortion law. Previously, constitutional amendments were permitted with a two-thirds majority, but this raising of the bar means that it will be very difficult for future legislators to change the law on abortion.

The requirement that there be a super-majority must undergo a second vote before it is ratified. The clear support displayed in the vote last Thursday however, makes it highly likely that the vote will pass.

While international media outlets have described legislation in the country as “prohibiting abortion in any circumstance”, local media have reported that data from the Honduran Social Security Institute shows that abortions appear to be performed in the country under an interpretation of the law to allow for abortion if a women’s life is at risk during a pregnancy.

‘Shield Against Abortion’

According to the Honduran Congress website, this move has been called the “Escudo Contra el Aborto en Honduras” – “Shield Against Abortion in Honduras”.

Mario Pérez, a lawmaker with the ruling party of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, proposed the measure last week, calling it a “constitutional lock” to prevent any future changes to the abortion law.

“Every human being has the right to life from the moment of conception,” said Mr Pérez.

Congresswoman Gloria Bonilla of the Liberal Party in Honduras said: “As a woman and a mother, I am in favour of life and against abortion, I want to speak on behalf of those who are in the mother’s womb and cannot be opposed”.

A small group of activists at the UN criticised the Honduran Congress, branding the Bill “alarming” and accused the country of “moving backwards” because it recognises the right to life of babies in the womb.

Abortion in Central and South America

The proposer of the Bill, Mario Pérez, explicitly said that his Bill was a response to the “the wave of constitutional reforms in Latin American countries, promoted by leftist governments led to legalize abortion, as happened in Argentina recently, and that cannot be allowed in Honduras”. 

Argentina, has recently loosened its legal protections for unborn babies. In December last year, Argentina’s Senate voted in favour of introducing abortion on demand into the country despite the widespread opposition to this move. Earlier in 2020, thousands joined in pro-life demonstrations, which, according to organisers, took place in across more than 500 cities in Argentina in opposition to a bill that would legalise abortion on demand.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Predictably, most Western media is horrified at the thought that babies in the womb deserve legal protection and the suggestion that there might be anything wrong with abortion, so the uproar that this legislation has caused in other countries is hardly surprising.” 

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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