El Salvador proposes decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape

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SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador’s ruling leftist party on Tuesday presented a proposal to Congress to allow abortion in cases of rape or risky pregnancy, offering a ray of hope to abortion proponents in the impoverished nation.

The Central American country is famous for its tough anti-abortion rules, with women who have abortions facing up to 30 years in prison. The rules offer no exceptions.

The proposal, presented by the Farabundo Martin National Liberation Front (FMLN), would allow abortion in cases of rape or trafficking, when the woman’s life is in danger, or when the fetus is so deformed that it makes life unviable.

The church and conservative groups have not yet made a statement on the bill.

To pass the law, the FMLN, a former Marxist guerrilla group, needs 43 out of 84 votes in Congress, but only has 31 seats.

There are at least 14 women in El Salvador who have been sentenced to prison terms of 12 years or more for abortion and about 130 currently facing legal proceedings, according to the Citizens Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Enrique Pretel and Joseph Radford