Guatemala Increases Prison Term for Killing a Baby in an Abortion to 10 Years

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 9, 2022   |   12:09PM   |   Guatemala City, Guatemala

The Guatemalan Congress passed a law Tuesday to increase jail penalties for abortionists and women convicted of aborting unborn babies.

Reuters reports the Life and Family Protection Law passed by a strong majority, and President Alejandro Giammattei appears likely to sign it.

Abortions are illegal in Guatemala, except when the mother’s life is at risk. The country punishes women and abortionists with jail time for aborting unborn babies in violation of the law.

The new legislation increases the penalty for women who abort their unborn babies from three years to up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, it increases the penalty for anyone who aborts an unborn baby without the mother’s consent to up to 50 years in prison, the French news agency AFP reports.

Pro-life Congressman Armando Castillo said the law is their response to Argentina and other South American countries recently legalizing the killing of unborn babies in abortions.

“While other countries continue to approve pro-abortion laws as well as laws that lead to the deterioration of the original concept of the family, this initiative has now become an important law for Guatemalan society,” Castillo said, according to AFP.

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Pro-life Congresswoman Patricia Sandoval also supported the law, saying it is “constitutional, it is viable, and it is the blessing of God.”

However, Human Rights Ombudsman Jordan Rodas said he plans to file a lawsuit challenging the new law as unconstitutional, Reuters reports.

“It violates human rights, it violates international agreements that Guatemala has ratified, it’s a rollback of freedoms,” Rodas said after the vote.

In America, pro-life advocates are working to restore unborn babies’ right to life, but U.S. pro-life advocates and the laws that they fight for do not and never have punished women. This includes laws that protected unborn babies’ right to life in the decades before Roe v. Wade.

Historically, women were not prosecuted for obtaining abortions prior to Roe v. Wade, and there are only two known prosecutions of women for abortions (in 1911 and 1922) in the whole of the U.S., according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.

Pro-life advocates believe women are second victims of the abortion industry, often pressured and lied to by abortionists who make money killing their unborn babies. Pro-lifers also do not want women to fear seeking emergency medical treatment at a hospital if they suffer complications from an illegal abortion.

While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under the law and abortions are banned, the American pro-life movement historically has opposed and continues to oppose punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions.