By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

CUIDAD ALFARO, Ecuador, July 16, 2008 ( – The new Constitution of Ecuador is increasingly seen as endangered as controversy rages about pro-abortion and anti-family language that has been injected into the document.

Last week, the growing frustration erupted in an angry protest outside of the Constituent Assembly, which is charged with formulating a new Constitution for the socialist regime of Rafael Correa.

Holding signs saying “No to abortion” that included swastika symbols associating the practice with Nazism, the crowd chanted, “No to the abortionist constitution!” 

Police attempted to disperse the crowd, but the pro-life minority in the Assembly convinced the body’s president to allow the protest to continue.  After the demonstrators demanded his presence, Assembly President Fernando Cordero came to speak to them, but said that he could not promise them anything.

In response, the crowd began to chant, “No to the referendum!” as Cordero turned his back on them and walked away.

Once the Constituent Assembly votes “yes” to the final document, it will proceed to a popular referendum, where it must be approved by at least 50% of the voting population, an increasingly doubtful outcome.

The controversy centers on language defining “reproductive rights” in the new document, a phrase that is often used by pro-abortion forces to euphemistically refer to the killing of the unborn. Article 10 of the new constitution states, “All have the right to make free, responsible, and informed decisions regarding their reproductive health and life and to decide when and how many children to have and how often to have them.”

In addition, although the Assembly has included language stating that the right to life is “inviolable,” it has conspicuously refused to include the phrase “from the moment of conception.”.

Writing in the newspaper El Universo, José Mario Ruiz Navas states that the pro-abortion language in the new Constitution “is making it difficult for us to vote ‘yes’.”

“The assemblymen avoid the word ‘abortion’, but they approve it,” he writes. “By refusing to determine that the defense of life begins from conception and by speaking of ‘reproductive rights’, they leave the door open for abortion.  On the other hand, they favor gays and lesbians, establishing the obligation for the government to offer them safe conditions.”

Assemblywoman Rosana Queirolo, a former TV anchorwoman who has led the fight in Ecuador against anti-family provisions in the Constitution, noted yesterday on the Assembly floor that “since Aristotle, 2,400 years ago, characterized the family as the basic unit of the society, this idea has become commonly accepted, not debated in any culture, time, or place and always has been constituted by the union of a man with a woman, whose principle purpose is procreation for the permanence of society.”

The new constitution contains language that specifically protects “transgender” people, who claim that their actual sex is different than their biological sex.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Queirolo noted that if the new constitution were to pass, it would be the first in the world to contain such explicitly anti-family language.

“From any time in the past, you tell me, thousands of years, the family has been always a natural institution, whose meaning should not be changed,” she said.  “We cannot change the meaning of family in this new constitution, I don’t know any Constitution in the world that might be committing this barbarity.”

Queirolo says that President Rafael Correa, who has consistently upheld a pro-life position, feels betrayed by his own party, Alianza PAIS, for failing to uphold his commitment to defend human life from the moment of conception.  Although the leadership of Alianza PAIS agreed earlier this year to protect the right to life in the new constitution, it has supported the pro-abortion language that ultimately found its way into the text.

Contact Information:

Embassy of Ecuador in Washington
  2535 15th Street, N.W.
  Washington, DC 20009
  Tel: (202) 234-7200
  Fax: (202) 667-3482
  Email: [email protected]

Embassy of Ecuador in Canada
  50 O’ Connor Street, Oficina 316
  Ottawa K1P 6L2, Ontario, Canada
  Tel  (613) 563 8206
     (613) 563 4286
  Fax  (613) 235 5776
  Email : [email protected]

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