August 23, 2013

Recommendations

To President Rafael Correa

  • Publicly support women and girls’ right to unhindered access to abortion where allowed by law, and press changes to Ecuador’s criminal code provisions on abortion that make them consistent with the Constitution and Ecuador’s international human rights obligations by making abortion legal in all cases of rape.

To the National Assembly

  • Update the criminal code to make it consistent with the Constitution and Ecuador’s international human rights obligations by allowing all girls and women access to legal, voluntary, and safe abortions in all cases of rape.
  • Remove the criminal code reference to “idiot or demented” women in the provision on abortion after rape, because the terms are antiquated and offensive and because ambiguities around their definitions can lead to involuntary medical treatment based on disability status. Women and girls living with disabilities should have access to abortion in cases of sexual violence in accordance with their wishes.

To the Ministry of Public Health

  • Ensure that women and girls have access to high quality abortion services in all cases of legal abortion, and that post-abortion care is available for all abortion-related complications.
  • Adopt and implement clear protocols for legal abortions, including abortions allowed under the current criminal code and abortions allowed after enactment of the new criminal code, including in all cases of rape.
  • Ensure that all health care and services provided to persons with disabilities are based on the free and informed consent of the individual concerned.
  • Collect and publish data showing the societal and economic costs of maternal mortality and morbidity related to illegal abortion in Ecuador, or assist other government ministries to do so.
  • Should the criminal code be amended to allow abortion after rape, the Ministry of Health should coordinate with other competent ministries to educate the population about the change in law and women’s and girls’ right to health services after rape, including abortion services if they want them. Particular attention should be paid to youth and at-risk populations.

To Donors and United Nations Agencies

  • Advocate for Ecuador to remove criminal penalties for abortion, including in all cases of rape, and to ensure that women and girls have access to safe and legal abortions.
  • Help fund the collection and publication of data showing the societal and economic costs of maternal mortality and morbidity related to illegal abortion in Ecuador.