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Ecuadorians demand decriminalisation of abortion for rape victims

WOMEN demonstrated in the Ecuadorian capital Quito on Tuesday to demand the decriminalisation of abortion in cases of rape.

Dozens of women gathered outside the National Assembly holding signs reading: “Surviving an abortion is a class privilege.”

Protesters wore green handkerchiefs as a symbol of their cause and lit candles by the feet of police officers guarding the parliament building.

Some chanted slogans including: “If the Pope were a woman, abortion would be law.”

Ecuador’s legislators are currently debating penal reforms, including one which would expand access to abortion.

Terminations are currently only allowed when the woman’s health is at risk or if the pregnancy was the result of the rape of someone with a mental disability. Women who have illegal abortions can be jailed for between six months and two years.

Activist Micaela Camacho said: “Child pregnancy is a fact and abortion after rape is the minimum reparation measure for these girls that the state cannot force to give birth.”

Every year, around 2,500 girls under 14 have babies as a result of sexual violence, according to Ecuadorian organisations, despite sexual relations with a 14-year-old being legally classed as rape.

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