Peru finally implements abortion law after 90-year wait

Monday 30 June 2014 17.32
Women shout slogans during a pro-abortion protest in front of the Health Ministry in Lima
Women shout slogans during a pro-abortion protest in front of the Health Ministry in Lima

Peru has finally put into effect a 90-year-old law allowing abortions in certain cases, after the government issued a new decree on how to apply the law.

The new guidance covers abortions at up to 22 weeks of pregnancy and only when a mother's health or life is in danger. 

"To be applicable, abortion should be the only way to save a mother's life or avoid serious and permanent damage to her health," Health Minister Midori de Habich said Saturday, on the eve of guidance going into effect.

De Habich noted that abortions in such cases had been theoretically permitted under a 1924 law, but were never practiced because of a lack of treatment protocol.

Abortion is prohibited in the majority of Latin American countries, except Cuba, Guyana and Uruguay. 

The practice is also allowed in Mexico City and under certain circumstances in Brazil when a woman has been raped or her life is endangered by the pregnancy.