Guatemala Increases Jail Time for Abortions, Bans Same-Sex Marriage

The conservative-led Congress in Guatemala approved a legislation that would increase the prison sentence for people who choose to have an abortion, ban same-sex marriage, and prohibit teaching on sexual diversity.

The Guatemalan Congress passed the so-called “Life and Family Protection Law” on March 8, International Women’s Day, which punishes those who “have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out” with 10 years in prison — more than triple the current prison sentence of three years.

The bill also punishes those who induce an abortion without an individual’s consent with up to 50 years in prison.

In Guatemala, abortion is only authorized if there is a threat to the mother’s life.

The bill also introduced a reform to the Civil Code to “expressly prohibit same-sex marriages.”

The bill would also outlaw public and private teaching initiatives on sexual diversity, which the legislation described as “promoting in children and teenagers policies or programs that tend to lead to diversion from their sexual identities at birth.”

The bill will come into law once President Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative physician opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, signs it.

“While other countries continue to approve pro-abortion laws, as well as laws that lead to the deterioration of the original concept of the family, this initiative has now become an important law for Guatemalan society,” right-wing Congressman Armando Castillo, a key defender of the law, said on March 8.

Center-left Congressman Samuel Perez criticized the bill, saying that it “should really be called a law to imprison and kill women.”

Center-left Congresswoman Lucrecia Hernandez called the bill “unconstitutional” and “dangerous.”


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