Virtually all El Salvadorans Oppose Legalization of Abortion: Poll

Wed Sep 1, 2010 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

SAN SALVADOR, September 1, 2010 ( - Ninety-three percent of El Salvadorans are opposed to the legalization of abortion in their country, according to a new poll.

To the question: "Do you agree with modifying the Constitution of the Republic, and that abortion be permitted?", 93% answered that they were not in agreement, and seven percent said they were, according to the El Salvador newspaper.

Among the reasons given for their rejection of the idea were: "All of us have the right to life" (33%), "It's something only God can decide" (20%), and abortion is the murder of "a defenseless person" (18%). Twelve percent described it as a crime.  Smaller percentages of respondents called abortion "an inhuman act," "unconstitutional," and "not a good solution."  Others reportedly pointed to the availability of contraceptives.

According to El Salvador, the poll was prompted by the government's Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU), which recently endorsed the legalization of abortion in response to the "Brasilia Consensus," a legally non-binding document issued at a recent meeting in Brazil of the Eleventh Regional Conference on Latin American and Caribbean Women (CEPAL).

The "Consensus" urges governments to "review laws that punish women who have undergone abortions," and cites the Committee against Torture of the United Nations, implying that prohibiting abortion is equal to "torture" under international law.

However, President Mauricio Funes responded to the outcry last week indicating that he would not seek to implement the pro-abortion provision in the CEPAL document. Poll respondents indicated their strong agreement with the president's decision.

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