Did you know that in Peru 19% of people with gestational capacity reported having had an abortion.

According to interviews conducted by PROMSEX in 2019, 19% of people with gestational capacity in Peru reported having had an abortion; according to the surveys, there is no significant difference between regions; however, the eastern region has the highest figures, with 26%, followed by the southern region with 21%, the central region with 19%, Lima – Callao with 17% and finally the north with 14%.  In addition, 58% of people reported having gone to a health professional for an abortion [7].

State of abortion law

Peru’s laws allow abortion if the pregnant person’s life is at risk, meaning Peruvian society is still very restrictive towards abortion; high restrictions put the health and rights of women, girls, and gender minorities queer people at risk.

What does the law say in Peru?     

Abortion Rights in Peru

“Not punishable abortion performed by a physician with the consent of the pregnant woman or her legal representative, if any, when it is the only way to save the life of the mother or to prevent her health serious and permanent damage”

Peruvian Criminal Code, 1991, Article 119º Legislative Decree Noº 635 [1]. 

Chapter II of the Peruvian Criminal Code (1991) establishes that abortion is not permitted in any of its modalities and is cause for privation of freedom in case it is performed. The only exception to this is cases where the pregnant person’s life is at risk. The law is clear in regards to the prohibition of abortion and criminalization of those involved in the process. Whether the pregnancy is result of consented sexual intercourse or sexual violence and both the pregnant person that receives the abortion and the person who performs it (in case it is not a self-managed abortion) will be criminalized in all cases. In addition to this, any abortion performed after the 22nd week is penalized by law.

In spite of there being situations whereby legal abortions can be performed, such as the one mentioned above, it is still a practice that is severely punished and reproached. This also applies in cases where the pregnancy is a result of sexual rape or of non-consensual insemination. 

“National technical guide for the standardization of the Comprehensive Care procedure for pregnant women in the Voluntary Interruption due to Therapeutic Indication of Pregnancy under 22 weeks with informed consent within the framework of the provisions of article 119 of the Penal Code”

In the year 2014, the Peruvian Ministry of Health issued En el año within the framework of the provisions of article 119 of the Criminal Code. In the year 2014 the National technical guide for the standardization of the Comprehensive Care procedure for pregnant women in the Voluntary Interruption due to Therapeutic Indication of Pregnancy under 22 weeks with informed consent. The finality of such a mechanism is to look after the health and wellbeing of pregnant persons. It also intends to reduce maternal mortality rates since abortion-related complications and lack of medical support has been the second reason for maternal mortality in the country for two decades before 2014 [2]. 

The Guide gives healthcare guidelines that would help healthcare professionals provide integral attention and care for abortion. In such cases, the condition stated for it to be conducted within the national legal framework is that “the pregnancy puts in grave risk of permanent damage to the woman, the interruption of pregnancy, only when this is the only way to save her life or avoid her going into grave or permanent health damage” [2]. This type of abortion is named therapeutic abortion.

Within the objectives of The Guideline there’s not only the promotion of integral attention to pregnant persons that require an abortion before the 22 weeks of pregnancy, but also an attempt to guarantee the right to access to healthcare, reproductive and sexual rights, as well as the dignified treatment of pregnant persons. There is also the need to guarantee quality standards in integral attention and the creation of guidelines that allow healthcare professionals to act without encountering barriers that make their work difficult or impossible.

It is important to highlight that among the mechanisms intended to regulate abortion, there is also the General National Health Law [3], makes it mandatory for healthcare professionals to report cases of abortion to authorities for investigation. Now, within the Criminal Code and the national legal instruments, the concept of “criminal abortion” is not typified so even though it is necessary to alert the authorities whenever an abortion is practiced, there cannot be a prosecution under the concept of “criminal abortion” [4].

How many abortions are performed in Peru?

Data and numbers of abortions in Peru

Since the government has not been collecting data that is accessible on the national channels or platforms, various non-governmental organizations, feminist organizations, academic communities and human rights groups have dedicated themselves to studying and acquiring data through polls and surveys among the civil community in Peru.

Despite investigations and official reports on matters such as sexual violence in minors, there is a huge void of up-to-date data about abortions in Peru. Promsex, an NGO with the consultative status of the OAS has been one of the organizations that has provided information about abortion, but their documentations are only until 2018. This means that ever since that year there has not been significant advances in abortion data.

However, it is important to mention that the existing data is alarming and covers child pregnancy—a condition that has been present in Peru for at least the last 25 years. Findings reveal data related to maternal mortality and morbidity in pregnant people as young as 17 years of age. Despite this statistic, there have been no reports focused on teenagers or children, which indicates a void of information about the consequences of child pregnancy, which is mainly mortality.

 Although there is some statistical information about abortion and sexual violence, there is not enough for there to be a real picture that will allow to determine the severity of the situation in Peru. The government has only focused on the regulatory outline, which has accessible content, but there is no information about how it is applied, nor about its impacts on the civil population. 

Data and numbers of abortion in Peru

 What do people in Peru believe?              

Opinion on abortion in Peru

Peruvian society is currently divided in two opposing opinions on abortion. One section is  against the decriminalization of abortion and another in favor of keeping it. Among the latter, there are those who unconditionally favour decriminalization as long as it is the pregnant person’s will but there are also sections that favor decriminalization only under certain conditions (e.g. pregnancy caused due to rape). 

Both contexts present different scenarios and are very different and that is why it is important to mention them, since anything regarding promoting freedom to choose and sexual rights of pregnant people cover different cases. Even though both freedom to choose and sexual rights of pregnant people refer to similar areas of a person’s life, they each have their own area of influence in terms of rights. Several initiatives such as “Déjala Decidir” have been promoted in the Peruvian legislative bodies and entities; “Déjala Decidir” specifically was focused on the decriminalization of abortion “in pregnancies caused by rape, nonconsensual artificial insemination or egg transfer”. Another bill that was proposed contemplated the aforementioned situation, but also added several variables to the context such as the existence of “malformations that were incompatible with life” [6]. Both bills were later on archived or just refused by the decision-making entity. 

Although these are not the only bills proposed, there isn’t enough evidence that the section of the population that supports decriminalization of abortion is well-represented in the legislative sector. Although civil organizations and groups that have spoken up in favor of regulation and legalization of abortion,   Peru’s political context has not allowed the  creation of a space where  their efforts can be fruitful.

Who are the people who have requested abortions?          

Abortion seekers in Peru

Since there is not much information provided by the government, we have resorted to information created by organizations dedicated to promote and defend Human Rights, academic communities and NGOs to acquire information on who abortion seekers are in Peru.

The Center for Promotion and Protection of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, states that abortion is not present in just one sector of the population, however, 81% of the pregnant women that requested abortions in 2019 are part of socio-economic sectors with low income and low resources [7]. On the other hand, it’s been found that 19% of women have had an abortion performed (number updated until 2019 [7] and just 58% resorted to a healthcare professional for the interruption of their pregnancy [7]. 

In addition to this, according to the last report from the Guttmacher Institute, between the years 2015 and 2019 there were a total of 1,080,000 pregnancies, out of which 69% were reported as unwanted, and 48% resulted in abortions [8]. 

Lastly, the platform OjoPublico estimated that in Peru there are around 350.000 abortions every year in women of reproductive age which is calculated between 15 and 49 years old [9].

Regarding the numbers provided by national entities in abortion matters, there is only the Peruvian National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control Informative Bulletin, which stated that in 2022 abortion and complications related to it was the fourth cause of maternal mortality in the country [10]. 

The available information sourced from the Ministry of Health of Peru is allusive to pregnancies and births among minors, but there is no specification of abortions performed in the country, within or outside the legal framework.

What abortion services are available in Peru?    

Abortion Methods


Abortion with Misoprostol

In Peru, abortion with pills is permitted under medical prescription with Misoprostol, whose approximate value in the market is $1,17 USD or $0.82 SOL [11] [12].

Which abortion pills are available in Peru?


Cytotec – 200 mcg – Pfizer Ltdt
Miso-Fem 200 mcg

In-clinic abortions

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) and Dilation and Curettage of the uterus (D&L) is available in Peru. These procedures can be performed only in government-authorized healthcare centers authorized by the government and the Ministry of Health, which are examined by them in accordance with the existing legal framework [11]. These facilities can be either public or private institutions but are regulated by the State and can only provide the service within the regulations for therapeutic abortion [11]. 

How does the context affect abortion in Peru?              

Context and abortion

Peru has contemplated abortion as a motive for punishments such as deprivation of liberty (or community service or an alternative punitive punishment) in their Criminal Code in its multiple versions issued in 1863, 1924 and 1991. The Congress has put the subject up for discussion many times but it was not until 2014 that they created and approved an instrument or guidelines for cases considered exceptional where abortion was not considered as a punishable act by the Criminal Code. 

The discussion around abortion in Peru takes many shapes. Despite being a secular nation, Catholicism has been used for legislative discussion and discourses have been shaped dominated by religious orthodoxy. s In addition to this, since 2018, the country has been through several political crises that have resulted in the removal of the head of State and recently the naming of a new Congress in the year 2022 along with the arrival of a new president [15]. These political crises have resulted in issues like abortion to take a backseat in terms of the legislative agenda priorities  in the last 5 years. Following the resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuckynzki, the presidents that have exercised power up until today have not only  neglected abortion legislation as a priority in their respective agendas, but also represented political parties that identify themselves as “pro-life” or strictly against the abortion legalization.

Peru’s current president  Dina Bolouarte, who was elected in urns by the Peruvian people by majority has declared to have an agenda that might be considered as “progressive” in matters related to feminism and abortion. The president has proclaimed herself as Catholic, but has not mentioned that her religious principles would be a main guideline for her mandate. Right now, she faces a big challenge with the Congress since this is in its majority “Fujimorista” (the political movement associated with the Fujimori family), which not only is conservative, but is openly against abortion based on Catholic values [16]. 

The president’s current agenda with possible legislative changes will be a tough  to present in front of Peruvian conservatives especially with regards to the issue of abortion. On November 16th the Congress voted to decriminalize abortion when it was the result of rape. This initiative was presented by the political party Cambio Democrático and the Justice Commission of Congress was in charge of the voting process.  The result was 12 votes against, 1 in favor and 4 abstentions[6] resulting in the fall of the bill.

W.P. [@WaykaPeru]. (2022, Nov 16). [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/WaykaPeru/status/1592966801851547649

This is still the most recent discussion about abortion, and there are still great voids not only in the legislative field but also in terms of regulation, since The Guide (mentioned above in this same document) is one of the few, if not the only existent instrument that intends to regulate somehow abortion. There is also a lot of uncertainty for the future since political instability in Peru has brought along a lack of continuity in the governments and their policies because of the constant change in mandates, hence there has not been an establishment of a political agenda that allows to determine whether abortion will have a place in discussions in the nearby future.

Sexual Violence in Peru

Even though there are no official numbers about abortions in Peru in general, there is evidence that based on the available information on sexual violence, especially towards minors, it is common and sadly on the highest rates in Latin America. Only during the first two months of the year 2023, 16 feminicides were reported in the country, according to the Reporte de Igualdad y No Violencia presented by the Defensoria del Pueblo. There were also 292 reports of disappearances of girls and teenage women during January of 2023, which are numbers that show as an example how violence is abundant in the country and alarms of the vulnerability situation for minors and underage women that are exposed to sexual violence.

There are also support mechanisms against sexual violence and gender violence in the country among which there is the Centro de Emergencias Mujer (CEM for its initials in spanish), Línea 100 and Temporary Refuge homes among others. However, these mechanisms (that are free and free to access for the entire population), that provide guidance and help in cases of violence, but they do not cover or mention information about abortion as any of their functions. There is also the initiative Rural Strategy that seeks to facilitate the access to justice and attention and prevention of violence for rural communities (among which there are indigenous communities), but that once again, do not contemplate providing information about abortion in any way.

According to the Report on Attention to Pregnancies in Girls and Adolescent Girls, which collects information from different official sources, “throughout all 2020, 48,575 pregnancies were reported where the mothers age ranged from 0 to 19 years, 11,179 {2.4%} childbirths in girls under 14 years of age and 24 childbirths in girls under 10 years of age” [16]. These very alarming numbers indicate a worrisome phenomenon of sexual violence focused on under aged girls. Thousands of girls are forced every year to take their pregnancies to term in accordance to the law, which does not contemplate regulated abortion for cases where pregnancy is product of rape.

How did the pandemic influence abortion in Peru?

Impact of COVID-19

The pandemic not only brought along a sanitary emergency around COVID-19, but also isolation, social distancing and a reconfiguration of Peruvian homesteads. In the matter of sexual violence, in the face of confinement, the People’s Defender reported the rise of risk for there to be sexual violence, since most of these numbers are present in domestic households where victims inhabit with their aggressors and by being in confinement with them, the cases of sexual violence and rape raised. In addition to this, healthcare services and medical attention services were saturated because of the focusing on the pandemic, which brought the healthcare services to disregard within its priorities the factor of sexual violence, resulting in the detriment of the right to access to integral healthcare services [17]. 

There was also a decrease in the number of therapeutic abortions reported during the year 2020, which according to the Peruvian Obstetric and Gynecologist Society [18] is related to the limitation on the accessing to sexual and reproductive healthcare system, the difficulty for patients to access to appointments with the gynecologist specialty area and the lack of access to first level care, aside from the confinement conditions stipulated by the authorities that made it impossible for patients to mobilize themselves to healthcare facilities. In fact, the Society reported that during the months of April, May and July of 2020 there were no therapeutic abortions performed in the country. This total decrease of abortion numbers was estimated to be due to the impossibility to provide healthcare services and the incapacity for pregnant people to attend to facilities and appointments with healthcare professionals in the matter of sexual health and therapeutic abortions.

Lastly, there are many information gaps, especially with regards to accessing therapeutic abortion, but the COVID-19 pandemic further deepened existing voids. For State and governmental institutions and healthcare providers, the priorities were directed to focusing on the global sanitary emergency, but even years afterwards these gaps keep widening. There are still no thorough reports about abortion and how it has evolved during the last two years in Peru while sexual violence and gender-based violence is rampant.

What is the data gap in Peru?

What we don’t know

Even though the healthcare system does have certain data, it is NGOs that provide the most critical information. However, in order to have a wider picture of the situation of abortion in Peru, investigation should also approach the following questions:

How many therapeutic abortions are performed in Peru each year?
What is the sector of the population that resorts the most to this resource?
How many unsafe abortions are performed every year?
How many people see their life projects affected by the existence of restrictions and barriers on the access to abortion?
How many queer people have had an abortion?
What is the maternal mortality rate due to unsafe abortions

*This page presents abortion data only for women and girls since the information available is usually not separated by gender. However, AbortionData.org acknowledges this limitation.

 Where did we get the information?


[1] Código Penal de la República del Perú. (1991). Retrieved from https://oig.cepal.org/sites/default/files/1991_codigopenal_peru.pdf

[2] Ministerio de Salud del Perú. (2014). Guía técnica nacional para la estandarización del procedimiento de la atención integral de la gestante en la interrupción voluntaria por indicación terapéutica del embarazo menor de 22 semanas con consentimiento informado en el marco de lo dispuesto en el artículo 119 del código penal. Retrieved from http://www.diresacusco.gob.pe/salud_individual/dais/materno/NORMAS%20RTN/03/RM%20486-2014%20-%20GTN%20DE%20ABORTO%20TERAPEUTICO.pdf

[3] Ley 26842, Ley General de Salud. (2014). Retrieved from https://vlex.com.pe/vid/ley-26842-ley-general-578578938#:~:text=La%20salud%20es%20condici%C3%B3n%20indispensable,Estado%20regularla%2C%20vigilarla%20y%20promoverla

[4] Justicia Verde. (2021). Guía para acceder a una atención de aborto libre de violencia obstétrica en los establecimientos de salud. Retrieved from https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/32e993c4-7164-4a9d-ba22-62eda718ec7e/Gu%C3%ADa_violencia_aborto-0002.pdf

[5] Causa Justa: la agenda pendiente sobre aborto en Perú. A propósito del caso colombiano. (2022). Retrieved from https://idehpucp.pucp.edu.pe/analisis1/causa-justa-la-agenda-pendiente-sobre-aborto-en-peru-a-proposito-del-caso-colombiano/

[6] Causa Justa: la agenda pendiente sobre aborto en Perú. A propósito del caso colombiano. (2022). Retrieved from https://idehpucp.pucp.edu.pe/analisis1/causa-justa-la-agenda-pendiente-sobre-aborto-en-peru-a-proposito-del-caso-colombiano/

[7] PROMSEX. (2019). El aborto en cifras: Encuesta a mujeres en Perú. Retrieved from https://promsex.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/EncuestaAbortoDiptico.pdf

[8] Keogh, S., & Motta, A. (2021, April 1). Peru. Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.guttmacher.org/regions/latin-america-caribbean/peru

[9] Díaz, C. (1970, May 11). Explicador: Lo Que Sabemos sobre las cifras diarias de aborto en el mundo. Ojo Público. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://ojo-publico.com/3477/lo-que-sabemos-sobre-las-cifras-diarias-de-aborto-en-el-mundo

[10] Search. MedAb. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://medab.org/search?field_brand_name_target_id=All&field_country_of_sale_target_id=214

[11] Abortion in Perú. All you need to know about abortions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://safe2choose.org/abortion-information/countries/peru

[12]  How to use abortion pill staff. (n.d.). Abortion laws in Peru. HowToUse AbortionPill. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://amp.howtouseabortionpill.org/ru/abortion-laws-by-country/peru/

[13] Gallegos, J. (2020, September 28). Serena Morena: El Colectivo Que Acompaña a las mujeres que deciden abortar en el Perú. Salud con lupa. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://saludconlupa.com/la-vida-de-nosotras/serena-morena-el-colectivo-que-acompana-las-mujeres-que-deciden-abortar-en-el-peru/

[14] ¡Mi Cuerpo, mi decisión! DecidoYo. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://decidoyo.org/

[15] CDC MINSA. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.dge.gob.pe/epipublic/uploads/boletin/boletin_202213_29_141926.pdf

[16] S.A.S., E. L. R. (n.d.). Pedro Castillo Intentó disolver El Congreso y decretar Estado de Excepción. Diario La República. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.larepublica.co/globoeconomia/peru-anuncia-un-golpe-de-estado-despues-de-que-castillo-anuncia-cierre-del-congreso-3504829

[17] Informe sobre la supervisión de la atención integral en niñas y … (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.defensoria.gob.pe/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/INFORME-DE-ATENCI%C3%93N-EMBARAZO-EN-NI%C3%91AS-Y-ADOLESCENTES-DP-UNFPA-PER%C3%9A.pdf

[18] Admin. (2021, June 4). Pandemia impactó en el acceso al aborto terapéutico. Proyecto SPOG FIGO ASAP. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from http://www.spog.org.pe/figo/proyecto/pedro-keiko-y-el-aborto-2/

[19] Swissinfo.ch. (2023, January 28). Dina Boluarte o el Reto de hacerse un hueco en el Eterno SISMO Peruano. SWI swissinfo.ch. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/per%C3%BA-crisis_dina-boluarte-o-el-reto-de-hacerse-un-hueco-en-el-eterno-sismo-peruano/48120264


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