The Supreme Court of Guatemala has ruled that the distribution of a manual promoting abortion must be stopped.
The manual, “Human rights, sexual and reproductive rights and healthcare for girls and adolescents,” had been financed by the UN Population Fund.
It had been promoted since 2015 by the Ombudsman for Human Rights at the time, Jorge De Leon Duque.
The Guatemalan judiciary issued its ruling Dec. 8. A press conference held by the Family Matters Association (FMA) and congressman José Rodrigo Valladares discussed the decision.
The Family Matters Association had filed for an injunction on June 22, 2017 against De Leon Duque “to invalidate the use of the manual and to demand the ombudsman's office stop promoting abortion.” Congressman Rodrigo Valladares subsequently joined the injunction filing.
The Supreme Court's ruling also ordered the Ombudsman's Office for Human Rights “to refrain from carrying out any activity which entails supporting or promoting abortion or abortion practices, their presentation (of it) as a right, the promotion of its legalization or the violation of the right to life from conception,” the FMA reported.
It also set a deadline of three months for the current ombudsman, Jordan Rodas Andrade, “to develop the necessary materials to counteract the harm done by the manual in question.”
In addition, the FMA stressed that the court has recognized that the ombudsman “has the grave and solemn obligation to defend life from its conception, an obligation he freely and voluntarily assumed by the oath to uphold the Constitution which he took in Congress at the time he accepted his office, if he wants to serve the nation.”
The court ruling states that “any report, study, investigation, publication, campaign or activity that the Ombudsman carries out must seek to defend the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Otherwise he would be exceeding his authority as provided by law.”
The FMA also emphasized that the court enjoined Rodas Andrade to avoid “reverting to the actions of your predecessor, and to refrain from carrying out any activity which promotes abortion directly or indirectly” and to not join the campaigns or use the slogans “ of those who in the supposed defense of the rights of women in vulnerable situations are promoting abortion under the disguised label of 'sexual and reproductive rights.'”
Current Ombudsman Jordan Rodas posted on his office's website a statement in which he disclaimed any responsibility for the manual promoted by his predecessor.
He pointed out that the manual “was not developed under my management,” but “was presented, published and distributed by the administration of my predecessor, Jorge De Leon Duque.”
In addition, Jordan Rodas emphasized that “starting August 20, the day I took office, until this very day, at no time have I made a statement about abortion.”
The FMA offered that it is “at the disposal of the ombudsman and his entire team, to give priority to and timely compliance with the Supreme Court's order.”
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.