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Peru’s new law determines that life begins at conception and recognizes the child in the womb as protected by law.

By Jonathon Van Maren,, LifeSiteNews – January 12, 2024

Despite setbacks, the pro-life movement in South America continues to achieve significant victories in their battle to implement and buttress laws protecting pre-born children in the womb from abortion. 

Peru, for example, has recently come under fire for its pro-life laws, with “Open Democracy” publishing a report last month titled “How Peruvian feminists risk their safety to help women access abortions” which claimed that “The country’s near-total abortion ban is forcing women and girls to turn to the black market for terminations.” 

This line of propaganda – that if abortion is illegal, women will die – is potent, but has been debunked, most recently by Dr. Calum Miller, who published a report in National Review in January observing that: “Legalizing abortion does not keep women from dying from it.” His research is well worth reading for those who wish to know how to rebut this common argument. 

Peru, however, is taking further steps to protect pre-born children. On November 9, the Peruvian Congress approved Law No. 785, which determines that life begins at conception and recognizes the child in the womb as protected by law. As one report noted, the government has established that “the child, both born and unborn, has its own identity, including a unique and unrepeatable genetic identity and a personality independent of his mother.”  

The law does not repeal Article 119 of the Penal Code permitting abortion in the case of a risk to the mother’s life but does state that “any child before birth has the right to dignity, life and integrity like any human being.” The law was put forward by Congresswoman Milagros Aguayo of the conservative party Renovación Popular two years ago and approved last April. 

After several changes from the executive branch, Law No. 785, also referred to as the “Law that Recognizes Rights to the Conceived,” passed by a margin of 72 to 26 with 6 abstentions. Like the “Shield Against Abortion” law in Honduras, the law does not enshrine new rights, but buttresses Peru’s pro-life regime against attacks from abortion activists.  

“The objective of this law is to have a norm that clearly and expressly recognizes the rights constitutionally granted to the conceived, as established in article 2 of our Magna Carta, beginning with the recognition of the right to life, from which all other rights flow,” spokespersons for the Peruvian Congress said in a statement. 

Pro-life policy-makers in many countries have recognized that, in the wake of pro-abortion victories in countries like Mexico and Argentina, it is essential to ensure that pro-life laws are strong enough to withhold the machinations of both courts and progressive politicians. (In Argentina, though, a staunchly anti-abortion president, Javier Milei, has just been elected and has indicated that he may consider a referendum on abortion to reconsider legalization.) 

Abortion activists assumed that after Argentina, the dominos would begin to fall across the continent. Instead, many countries have taken precisely the opposite approach, including Peru, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, among others.  

Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist.

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