(Photo: Reuters / Ricardo Rojas)
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has threatened he will resign from his country's leadership if abortion is made legal, drawing praise from pro-life Christian churches there.
"They can do whatever they want. I will never approve the decriminalization of abortion," said Correa, a Roman Catholic, ahead of Ecuador's National Assembly reviewing a proposal to legalize the practice.
"It has cost me more, the betrayals of my own supposed friends, than the acts of my enemies," he added last week, referring to his own party members supporting the legalization of abortion, according to BBC News.
Correa's words have been praised by Mgr. Antonio Arregui, Archbishop of Guayaquil and President of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, who said that the president's firm stance against abortion is "commendable."
"We believe that human life is sacred and cannot be eliminated," Arregui said, according to Agenzia Fides.
Correa, who assumed office in 2007, was also praised by the archbishop for "the courage, the quality with which the president spoke."
"Where do we say we should decriminalize abortion? On the contrary, our constitution pledges to defend life from the moment of conception," Correa has said about plans to legalize the practice.
Fides also noted that according to several local press reports, Correa has shared of "serious betrayal and treachery" within his party, and that he has always spoken out about his opposition to any bills seeking to legalize abortion. The proposal is in the final stages of debates at the Assembly, and is reportedly being considered along with other changes to the Penal Code, including tougher prison sentences and specific laws to address crimes committed by women.
The Penal Code of Ecuador currently prohibits abortion, except in cases where a mother's life is in danger, or in certain cases where the pregnancy is a result of rape. According to the CIA Factbook, close to 95 percent of the population follows the Roman Catholic Church, which is also a strongly pro-life institution that opposes abortion.