, LIMA, Oct 13 – Peru’s Roman Catholic bishops slammed a bill allowing abortion in rape and fetal deformity cases, calling it a "death penalty" for embryos in a country where capital punishment is illegal.
"Life is a right from its conception… any attempt to justify the elimination of children about to be born into illness or disability brings to light our difficulty in accepting sick people," the Peruvian Bishops Conference (CEP) said in a statement.
Spearheaded by Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, the church has openly lobbied lawmakers to drop proposed legislation to legalize elective abortion for rape cases or when the fetus is deformed.
The bill was approved by a parliamentary committee a week ago, sending it for debate in the full Congress.
Cipriani denied allegations made in a report by civil groups that said some 300,000 illegal abortions are performed each year in Peru.
The CEP said life should not be terminated for any reason, neither for rape nor to save the life of the expectant mother.
The notion that "the mother’s life is worth more than her child’s is arbitrary and false," it said.
"Since we’ve done away with the death penalty in Peru for even the worst criminals, how can we accept the death penalty for an embryo that hasn’t even had the time to commit a mistake and cannot even defend itself?"