By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
QUITO, September 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ecuadorians have approved a new Constitution for their nation that critics say contains pro-abortion and pro-homosexual language, threatens the right of parents to decide their children’s education, and delivers excessive power to the presidency (see previous LifeSiteNews coverage at https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08080610.html).
The Constitution, which was formulated and approved by the socialist party Alianza PAIS, received approval from between 63.2% and 70% of voters, according to exit polls. Incomplete counts gave the figure of 63%.
The new Constitution will dramatically increase the powers of President Rafael Correa, an admirer of communist revolutionary Che Guevara and close friend and ally of Hugo Chavez.
Amparo Media, President of Ecuador’s Human Life International affiliate Pro-Life Action, said in a press release that the Constitution’s “legal text is contrary to fundamental human rights,” but added that “in order to protect the people of Ecuador from the effects of this referendum” it would seek to receive legislative recognition of the right to life, the rights of family, and the right to conscientious objection to morally offensive measures contained in the document.
Pro-Life Action “will not rest until all fundamental human rights are restored in our Constitution,” said Medina.
Rosanna Queirolo, a former member of the representative body that formulated the document, and who opposed it because of its pro-abortion language, expressed her hope that Correa would keep his word and maintain a pro-life position.
“We take the word of the President of the Republic when he has said time and again here and abroad that life will be respected from conception, that family planning is being referred to and not abortion when (the Constitution) says that every person has the right to decide when and how many children to have, that the diverse types of family are a reference to migrants but not to pervert it, and that the freedom of parents to educate their children will be respected,” Queirolo told LifeSiteNews.
Correa claimed repeatedly during the referendum campaign that the Constitution’s enemies’ concerns about pro-abortion language in the document were dishonest, and that it would in fact protect the right to life. He was opposed by the nation’s bishops, one of whom called the document a “tasty sandwich” that was laced with “drops of cyanide.” Archbishop Antonio Arregui of Guyaquil received anonymous death threats and government intimidation, but maintained his opposition to the document until the end.
“Today Ecuador has decided on a new country. The old structures have been defeated,” Correa defiantly announced from Guyaquil, his home town, which has ironically offered the most resistance to his regime.
“The new Constitution has triumphed smashingly,” he added. “It is an historic moment that greatly transcends the people who by accident or luck have been present in this process.”
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest and most prosperous city, bucked the trend in the rest of the country and voted against the new Constitution, 47 to 46 percent, with a total of 54% of opposing votes, null votes, and blank votes.
Guayaquil’s mayor, Jamie Nebot, insisted during the campaign that the document would revive the failures of socialism in Ecuador. Nebot has implied that Guayaquil might seek a degree of independence from the new constitutional order in Ecuador should it vote “no”, although in the wake of the nationwide victory for the document he expressed his willingness to dialog with Correa.
Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:
Ecuador’s Lead Catholic Bishop Holds Open Air Masses to Pray for the Right to Life
The Enemies of Life in Ecuador Messed with the Wrong Bishops
Death Threats Received by Archbishop and Human Life International Leader in Ecuador for Opposing “Abortionist” Constitution
Ignoring Threats and Intimidation, Catholic Bishops of Ecuador Denounce Pro-Abortion Constitution
Criminal Charges Filed against Ecuadorian Archbishop for Opposing “Abortion” Constitution
New Ecuadorian Constitution Endangered by Pro-Abortion, Anti-Family Language
Ecuador’s Proposed Constitution Would “Establish Penalties” for Groups that “Promote Homophobia”
Ecuador’s President and Ruling Party to Seeks to Exclude Mention of God in New Constitution
Ecuadorans Battle Over Abortion in their New Constitution