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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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Paraguay president refuses to decriminalize abortion

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

ASUNCION, Paraguay, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Paraguay president Horacio Cartes is firmly standing against decriminalization of abortion amid an international campaign to legalize it throughout the country.

The international pressure comes after the now world-famous case of a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped and was denied an abortion. The girl recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

"The mother is alive, and so is the daughter," said Cartes in recent declarations to the press. "To those who suggested that the girl abort, two things could have happened: one lost life, for sure. We could have lost two lives," he noted.

"We did what our conscience dictated, what the Constitution commands, and what our religious convictions command," he said, adding: "We are more than 80% Catholics in Paraguay."

Abortion in Paraguay is illegal except when pregnancy poses a danger to the life of the mother.

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Last May, when the girl's case became internationally known, several feminist NGOs, led by the United Nations and Amnesty International, called for the legalization of "therapeutic" abortion in the country, to exempt cases of rape such as the girl's, claiming that abortion would protect the girls' health.

"Those were moments of a lot of tension," admitted Cartes, adding that he believed that Paraguayans had "given testimony as to what our convictions are" by not giving in to international pressure.

On November 12, Cartes met with Paraguay's Episcopal Conference (CEP). In a press conference held after the meeting, the CEP's president Eduardo Valenzuela said the bishops had "congratulated the president for everything he is doing to protect life and family."

"That is already very important," he said. "And it is also important to know about the ideologies that attack life and family. Paraguay, in this sense, has shown a firm position in being in favor of life and family."

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