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Guatemala initiates wide-ranging policy protecting life and family

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John Burger - published on 08/04/21

"We will ... protect Guatemalans as God intended," president declares.

The Central American nation of Guatemala has introduced a new policy to protect life from its earliest stages in the womb until its end.

President Alejandro Giammattei on July 25 presented the “Public Policy for the Protection of Life and the Institutionality of the Family 2021-2032,” saying it is aimed at “institutional strengthening and establishing guidelines that help to guarantee the attention to the immediate needs of protection of life from its conception and human rights of the person who is to be born, prenatal stage, early childhood, childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood and older adulthood, thus protecting the family as the basic unit of society.” 

“We will improve social programs, health, education, the elderly and other programs to protect Guatemalans as God intended,” Giammattei said.

He stressed that “the changes that this policy will allow must be reflected in the largest inter-institutional coordination in history.” The policy will unite the efforts of 11 ministries and other institutions of the Executive, bringing together 99 programs to strengthen the family, combat sexual abuse, and fight malnutrition, among other goals. 

In 2019, as candidates, the president and vice president, Guillermo Castillo Reyes, signed the Declaration of Life and Family of the Association for Family Matters, to work for the protection of these rights and values, as well as promote government initiatives that promote them.

The Guatemalan Asociación la Familia Importa (AFI) said the policy is a “fundamental advance in the defense of life and family, as established by our Political Constitution, legislation and international treaties signed and ratified by our country.”

Guatemala’s Constitution recognizes that “the State guarantees and protects human life from its conception, as well as the integrity and security of the person.” 

AFI recognized the significance of Guatemala’s action for the region stating, “This measure is also an achievement at the regional level, since it sets a precedent to be replicated and taken as an example for other countries that defend these values.”

That’s important at a time when there’s been increasing pressure internationally for Latin American nations to liberalize their abortion laws. Argentina legalized abortion this year. Just five days after Giammattei’s announcement, the White House issued a statement of commitments to the UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum, stating that the Biden Administration is “committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world.”

Various pro-life groups throughout Latin America celebrated Guatemala’s new policy and the message of hope it sends to the region. Pro-life advocates used the hashtag #GuatemalaPaísCeleste and the blue and white colors of the Guatemalan flag to congratulate Guatemala for its advance in the protection of human rights and invited other governments to replicate the policy.

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