Ecuador Constitution Proposal Under Fire From Catholic Church Over Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2008
Quito, Ecuador (LifeNews.com) — The Catholic Church in Ecuador is opposing a 444-page draft of a new constitution for the South American nation because of abortion objections. A leading Catholic official says the document promotes abortions in this nation that, like most of the rest of the continent, makes them illegal.
Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil criticized the draft document saying the language on abortion is ambiguous.
It includes the phrase "reproductive rights" that pro-life advocates have long pointed to as a code word for abortion and one that abortion activists have used to slide abortion into documents on the international level.
The right to life of unborn children is included in the document, but does not say the right begins at the moment of conception.
"We’re going to request that the entire Christian conscience takes note of the nonnegotiable incompatibilities of this constitution with our faith," he said, according to AP.
The document is "leaving the door open to the deletion of a new baby," he added.
A special panel convened by leftist President Rafael Correa recently approved the draft of the new constitution and it will next head to a national referendum on September 28.
The Ecuadorian government disagreed with the Catholic leader on the document and Augusto Barrera, coordinator between the Executive and the Constituent Assembly, expressed his position.
"It is not true that the Constitution favors abortion. It undoubtedly and clearly protects life and establishes protection and care from the very beginning that is conception," he explained.
Correa agrees and has said he thinks some Catholic priests are sharing erroneous information about the document in sermons.
Earlier this month, pro-life advocates held a protest outside the Constituent Assembly, which is crafting the new constitution.
The Catholic Church has said it will not engage in a national campaign to oppose the constitution, but pro-life observers in Ecuador will do so and that may cause its defeat.
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