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Guatemalan Women Face Up to 10 Years in Prison Under New Abortion Law

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Guatemalan lawmakers have passed a sweeping new bill mandating up to 10 years of jail time for women who obtain abortions, explicitly banning same-sex marriage and preventing schools from teaching about sexual diversity.

The measure, which was approved Tuesday and is expected to be signed into law by Guatemala’s conservative president within weeks, would impose the harshest punishment for abortion of almost any country in Latin America.

It bucks the trend toward broadening access to the procedure throughout the region in recent years. “I voted for it because of what has happened in other countries,” said Armando Castillo, a Guatemalan congressman who backed the measure. “The point of this is to set a trend, so that can never happen here.” Human rights groups warned that the measure would most likely spur more women to seek abortion in unsafe settings, driving up maternal deaths. “This is the most regressive and wholesale attack on the rights of women and L.G.B.T.

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