Ecuador Voters Approve Constitution Catholic Church Opposed Over Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ecuador Voters Approve Constitution Catholic Church Opposed Over Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 28
, 2008

Quito, Ecuador ( — Voters in Ecuador, a strongly pro-life Catholic nation, approved a new national constitution that the Catholic Church had opposed because it worried would open the door for legalized abortion. The opposition earned Catholic and pro-life leaders death threats and other intimidation during the campaign.

The pro-life advocates opposed the new constitution for the South American nation because it includes the phrase "reproductive rights" that pro-life advocates have long pointed to as a code word for abortion.

The right to life of unborn children is included in the document, but early drafts did not say human life begins at conception.

The final version says life "begins with conception" but also guarantees "the right to freely make responsible and informed decisions about one’s health and reproductive life" — which can easily be used by abortion advocates in courts to try to overturn the nation’s pro-life laws prohibiting abortions.

However, on Sunday, residents of the nation overwhelmingly approved the new constitution, which expands the power of left-wing President Rafael Correa’s powers.

Correa addressed the concerns in a speech after the vote, according to AFP, saying, "Let’s see if the new constitution is pro-abortion … Let’s see if all that is true."

During the debate leading up to the vote, Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza and Amparo Medina, president of Ecuador’s Pro-Life Action Foundation, received death threats.

In one of the recent incidents of intimidation, Medina received a shoebox in the mail containing a dead rat and the message "death to prolifers" and also had a long letter containing death threats nailed to the door of her home.

The letter contained the message, "Remember that accidents exist, remember that accidental deaths happen daily in our country. Do not continue your anti-woman … campaign … death to traitors, death to those who oppose the nation."

In another incident, Catholic officials found the severed head of a dog with a communion wafer in its mouth in a Catholic chapel as a warning to clergy who dare to speak out against the constitution.

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