Guatemala has just pushed forward an alarming array of anti-women and anti-LGBTQ laws. Passed by the nation’s congress, the new measures would:
~ Give women up to 10 years in prison for having an abortion
~ Criminalize being a doctor who participates in abortions, with up to 50 years in prison
~ Bans same-sex marriage
~ Bans teaching that “anything other than heterosexuality is normal” in schools
According to the BBC, Guatemalan conservatives are calling it the “Life and Family Protection Law”. Yahoo! News reports that out of 160 congresspeople, only 8 opposed the bill, meaning it has widespread support throughout the country and will almost certainly become law – all it needs now is the president’s signature.
What makes this even more appalling is that the law was passed on International Women’s Day, despite the fact that this will be setting women back and hinder their ability to make choices for themselves.
On top of the abortion laws, there’s also going to be massive impacts on the LGBTQ community. According to France24, conservative Guatemalan politicians claim that they needed to ban the teaching of LGBTQ diversity and inclusion because they “represent a threat to the moral balance of our society.”
Opponents of the bill say it violates human rights. The Gay Times says that activists in the country have vowed to fight the law and quoted Cristian González of Human Rights Watch, who stated, “the approval of this dangerous initiative represents a threat to the rights of women and LGBT people in the country.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Guatemala now joins a growling list of nations across the globe that have anti-LGBTQ policies in place. In fact, the HRC says that almost 70 countries criminalize same-sex relations.
it should also be noted that these laws are being pushed through by an extremely corrupt and unpopular government. Conservative president Alejandro Giammattei and his party have been caught accepting bribes from Russians and unlawfully detaining their political foes and activists who speak up against them. The New York Times speculates that these radical moves are being made in order for Giammattei to stoke up support amongst radical conservatives in order to stay in power since his current administration is failing in the polls.