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Peruvians Decry Protocol on Legality of Abortion. Clarify That "Interrupting Pregnancy" Is Never a Therapy

AREQUIPA, Peru, FEB. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Abortion is never a therapy, even in pregnancies when the life of the mother is endangered, affirm a group of scholars form the Catholic University of St. Paul in Arequipa.

Representatives of the law faculty and the Institute for Marriage and Family at the university publicized Sunday a statement responding to a protocol approved by the regional government regarding the legality of abortion.

The Protocol for Handling Cases of Legal Interruption of Pregnancy lists 24 reasons for which a "therapeutic abortion" during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is justified.

The statement was sent to ZENIT by Lilian Moscoso, from the offices of communications and institutional relations at the university.

The authors, "in accord with the promotion of the principle of the inalienable right to life, express our most firm rejection of the so-called Protocol for Handling Cases of Legal Interruption of Pregnancy, published by the Regional Administration of Health in Arequipa."

And the university representatives offered the scientific and legal reasons for their rejection of the protocol.

The statement further contended that the term "'therapeutic abortion' is erroneous, given that abortion is never in any circumstances a therapy, even when the intention is to save the life of the mother."

It continued, "Abortion should not be confused with the undesired death of the conceived. If a doctor faces a grave situation in which the life of the conceived as well as the life of the mother are at stake, and finds himself forced to make the decision of applying a therapy that puts at grave risk the life of one of the patients, and causes, without having desired it, the death of the child, we are not dealing with an abortion, but are before a case of the ethical principle of acts with undesired effects."

The authors added that the penal code "does not establish a right to abortion for the simple reason that in the Peruvian legislative system, abortion has always been a crime and still is today."

The statement concluded, affirming that "a state of law is one in which all citizens, without exception, are respected in their fundamental rights. We exhort the society to watch out for the respect of the dignity of all persons and the rights that are derived from that dignity."