‘I don’t feel earn’: Guatemalans denounce anti-abortion legislation



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Guatemala City, Guatemala – With chants of “this pro-lifestyles government doesn’t label our lives”, a full bunch of of us throughout the weekend converged on the Guatemalan Congress to present off their indignation at a brand novel legislation they are saying threatens the rights of ladies folks and people of the LGBTQ team.

On March 8, while a full bunch were commemorating Global Ladies’s Day, Guatemala’s conservative-managed Congress authorized the “Security of Life and Family” legislation in a 101-8 vote. There are 160 seats in Congress.

The legislation labels LGBTQ of us “irregular” and prohibits the prosecution of any individual who carries out a hate crime towards the team. It publicizes a family as one full of life a married man and girl, outlaws identical-intercourse marriage, and restricts the flexibility of faculties or other academic institutions to produce inclusive sexual education outside of the family unit.

Abortion is already illegal in Guatemala – with the best exception being if a pregnancy threatens the mother’s lifestyles – however the legislation also will enhance the penalty for ladies folks who endure the task, whether precipitated by a health care provider or on account of a miscarriage.

“With the expand in these restrictive policies and perfect initiatives, they set apart the LGBT+ population and ladies folks in a misfortune of excessive threat,” Homero Fuentes, a 33-one year-historic activist with LGBTQ rights team Visibles, educated Al Jazeera.

“These [initiatives and laws] enable hate speech to continue to be promoted,” he acknowledged. “This materialises in a scenario of discrimination, of violence, and to the level of [violent] crimes.”

A protester holds a sign that reads
A protester holds a signal that reads ‘No to the hate legislation’ throughout a march on March 12 [Jeff Abbott/Al Jazeera]

Conservative nation

A day after the legislation modified into once authorized, Guatemala’s conservative President Alejandro Giammattei held a ceremony to bid the Central American nation “the expert-lifestyles capital of Iberoamerica”. Congress had already declared March 9 “the day to possess an even time family and lifestyles”.

Guatemala is a religiously conservative nation that has largely resisted or undermined efforts to undertake progressive legislation.

The legislation modified into once in the starting up proposed in 2017 by Congressman Anibal Rojas Espino of the conservative VIVA Celebration. His proposal obtained a broad deal of support from Evangelical Christians and modified into once accompanied by 29,000 signatures from backers of the initiative.

Yet many substances of the present legislation – including substances that potentially threaten constitutional rights in Guatemala – led its earlier supporters, including the conservative Family Matters Affiliation, to take concerns this time around.

Amid that accepted condemnation, including from international human rights teams, Giammattei on March 10 threatened to veto the legislation, urging Congress to shelve it moderately than forcing him to exert that presidential vitality.

Forward of Giammattei’s announcement, the opposition issued an official objection to block the legislation from reaching the presidency, arguing that it violated the nation’s constitution and international conventions. The legislation will arrangement below review Tuesday.

“It is a ways a regressive legislation in every sense,” Ligia Hernandez, a congresswoman with the opposition Movimiento Semilla (Seed Scurry), educated Al Jazeera. “It impacts many of us on this nation. They are going to make exhaust of this legislation to criminalise ladies folks, and to incite hatred.”

Protesters march in Guatemala City against a strict anti-abortion law
Ladies’s rights and LGBTQ activists relate the novel legislation has worsened a mode of misfortune [Jeff Abbott/Al Jazeera]

Sense of misfortune

Claudia Rosales, who works with the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Consortium, a coalition of NGOs, acknowledged the legislation has worsened a sense of misfortune that already prevailed amongst ladies folks in Guatemala.

In 2021, higher than 80 p.c of all assault complaints that women folks lodged with the overall public prosecutor’s place of work went uninvestigated, everyday newspaper Prensa Libre reported.

The nation also recorded 709 femicides final one year, in accordance to facts from the Mutual Crimson meat up Crew, known by the Spanish acronym GAM. The Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s place of work also documented no longer less than 32 killings of people of the LGBTQ team in 2021, and no longer less than 9 killings for the reason that starting up of 2022.

“I don’t feel earn as a girl,” Rosales educated Al Jazeera throughout a bid towards the legislation outside of Congress on March 10.

“[Guatemala] doesn’t provide protection to ladies folks’s lives,” she acknowledged. “And the day one thing happens to us, the justice draw doesn’t must give an enough, efficient, and urged response to the complications we face.”

Regional developments

Guatemala’s legislation runs counter to a so-known as “Inexperienced Wave” within the wider Latin The US quandary in favour of decriminalising abortion, while marriage equality rights also were witnessed in some countries, similar to Chile. It also comes as the Giammattei administration has sought to grow nearer with US Republican lawmakers.

“We’re permanently defending what miniature rights now we possess,” Ada Valenzuela, director of the National Union of Guatemalan Ladies, educated Al Jazeera referring to the existing ambiance within the nation.

“Ladies in Guatemala we’re facing a brand novel inquisition,” she acknowledged. “It is a ways one which impacts us all.”

But backlash towards the legislation, besides Giammattei’s veto threat, pushed the president of Guatemala’s Congress, Shirley Rivera, to relate lawmakers would verify whether it is a ways constitutional.

The legislation will arrangement up for extra debate on Tuesday, while more protests were known as for that identical day, as advocates relate their fight is worthy from over – even though this particular model of the legislation is in a roundabout contrivance halted.

Hernandez, the opposition politician, warned: “It would possibly well perchance be reborn at any time [under a new name].”

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