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Peruvian Congress passes bill to guarantee fetal rights

Pregnant woman and Peruvian flag

Artmim | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 03/18/24

Just months after Peru amended its constitution to recognize that life begins at conception, it has now established protections for both mother and child.

Legislators of Peru have passed a bill to initiate protections for pregnant women and unborn children throughout every stage of pregnancy. Furthermore, the legislation is worded in order to place equal importance on the life of the mother and child. The bill comes after Peru amended its constitution to recognize that human life begins at conception in 2023.

CNA reports that the bill sailed through the Peruvian Congress, passing in a vote of 87-18, with seven abstentions. It is now headed to the desk of President Dina Boluarte, who is expected to sign the bill into law. 

The law would require the state and private institutions to provide special protections to pregnant women and the unborn child throughout all stages of the pregnancy, and into the postpartum period. This includes guarantees of comprehensive healthcare coverage for pregnant women and the unborn child, from routine checkups to childbirth and beyond.

In addition, it recognizes the rights of the father, extending to them the same benefits in relation to the pregnancy. 

The law will also prevent the use of the Peruvian penal code to argue a right to abortion exists within the nation.

Carlos Polo, director of the Latin American Office of the Population Research Institute, noted to ACI Prensa that a ruling of the Inter-American Court – in the case of Artavia Murillo v. Costa Rica – determined that the life and health of a pregnant mother is valued higher than that of the unborn child. This case has been used in recent monthsto argue that the penal code’s allowance of abortion in cases to protect the life or health of the mother can justify “therapeutic abortions.” 

The law establishes and recognizes the right of babies to be born in “a healthy, decent, and safe environment.

The move is a big step for supporters of fetal rights at a time when some nations are cementing abortion into their constitutions.

AbortionFamilyHuman RightsPeru
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