Peruvian Bishops Oppose Move to Legalize Abortion

Would Be First Case in Latin America, They Warn

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LIMA, Peru, OCT. 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Peruvian Congress' attempt to open the doors to legal abortion prompted a letter from the country's Catholic bishops, who decried any efforts to attack unborn life.



On Thursday the bishops' conference published a statement addressed to the country's lawmakers, who last week approved an article that would modify the Constitution.

The text approved by lawmakers states: "The death penalty is prohibited. Abortion is prohibited but for the exception permitted by the law."

That last phrase sparked the Catholic bishops' "profound concern."

"The inclusion of possible legal exceptions to abortion in the Constitution, is an attack on life -- first fundamental right -- leaving Peruvian children without constitutional protection and exposing mothers to the consequences of participating in the murder of their own children," the episcopal statement said.

"It would be the first time that it is said that abortion is permitted in a Constitution of Latin America," they added.

"The subject of abortion is not exclusively religious, social or political: It is a human problem," they said. "The value of life transcends the confessional view, because it is a question of humanity. Man himself is at stake."

Their letter continued: "The phrase 'but for the exception permitted by the law,' opens the possibility that in the future, the exceptions that the law permits will increase, in practice leaving abortion approved at the constitutional level."

The bishops pointed out the contradiction implied in the approved text "on one hand, the death penalty is prohibited ... and on the other, the legal possibility is opened for the death of defenseless and innocent beings."

"We, the bishops of Peru, make an energetic appeal to the state to respect signed international agreements. This is why we remind all that the American Convention on Human Rights, or Pact of San Jose de Costa Rica, ratified by Peru, states that: 'Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life,'" the episcopal statement concludes.