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Peru’s Justice Ministry reiterated last week its official position against abortion, despite the fact that one of its representatives, Ricardo Váscones, voted in favor of decriminalizing it in case of rape or severe deformations of the unborn child.

That vote came in the committee that is evaluating a reform of Peru’s Penal Code.

The Ministry cites articles from the American Convention of Human Rights, Peru’s Political Constitution and Peru’s Civil Code, that affirm that every person has the right to live and that life starts at conception.

Rosa Mavila, a representative of the Bar of Lawyers, said that this law would be applied only “after a medical evaluation.”

In July, the human rights organization Amnesty International issued a report on maternal mortality in Peru that promotes abortion in the pro-life nation while advancing controversial interpretations of international law.

The report, “Fatal Flaws: Barriers to Maternal Health in Peru,” also acknowledges that lack of emergency obstetric care – and not access to abortion – is the largest contributing factor to high maternal death rates in the Andean nation, while listing obstacles faced by poor, often indigenous, women in gaining access to basic maternal and newborn care.

[October 12, 2009, Ertelt, Lima, Peru,]