SAN SALVADOR , El Salvador, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- El Salvador's Farabundo Marti Liberation Front, or FMLN, ruling party has proposed easing laws to allow women to receive abortions in cases of rape, risk to the life of the mother and if the fetus is not viable.
Abortion is now banned in El Salvador. The FMLN needs the supports of an additional 12 lawmakers to pass the bill, which is supported by the president of Congress, Lorena Peña, who said the full bill will be presented on Wednesday.
"It's a duty of legislators to give women a chance to save their lives, so that they don't die in those circumstances," Peña said of the bill. "It is also meant to take into account the impact giving birth has on girls who have been raped."
In El Salvador, people convicted of having or being involved in abortions can be sentenced to up to eight years in prison.
"Girls and women have the right to protect and defend our physical and moral integrity," Peña said in a statement.
Ricardo Velasquez, an opposition lawmaker, said the ruling party's proposal is a distraction tactic being used to divert attention from a massive governmental financial deficit.
Velasquez supports a rival bill that would punish people who have or are involved with abortions with up to 50 years in prison -- the same punishment as aggravated murder -- because "killing babies is a genocide," La Pagina reports.