Ecuador's lawmakers vote against decriminalizing abortion for cases of rape, fetal malformation
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Ecuador's National Assembly voted Tuesday against decriminalizing abortion in all cases of rape and for fetal malformation.
A decriminalization proposal fell five votes short of the 70 required for its approval, with 59 assembly members voting against and six refraining.
Demonstrators who had been in favor of the plan gathered outside the National Assembly after the vote, some trying to tear down metal fences around the building.
Police dispersed the crowd with pepper spray.
In Ecuador, a conservative country with an 80 percent Catholic population, abortion is only allowed when the life or health of the mother is at risk or if a pregnancy is the result of the rape of a woman with a mental disability.
Groups in favor of decriminalizing abortion in all cases of rape claim some 2,500 teenagers give birth as a result of sexual assault in Ecuador every year.
Some in the country opposed decriminalization on religious grounds, claiming it would endanger innocent lives.