In an earlier statement to The New York Times, the president’s office denied that Mr. Giammattei had accepted bribes.
Guatemala already mandated prison time for anyone who got an abortion, except in cases where the woman’s life was at risk, and same-sex couples have never been allowed to marry in the country. But for the president, the new bill carries symbolic weight, analysts said.
“He’s reaching out and trying to amplify his base when he is increasingly weak and isolated, and increasingly in confrontation with the Biden administration,” said Eric Olson, an expert on Central America at the Seattle International Foundation. “This also helps his relationship with a network of conservative evangelical congressmen in the United States.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Giammattei participated in a ceremony declaring Guatemala the “pro-life capital” of Latin America. He was joined by representatives of the Family Research Council, a prominent evangelical group based in Washington, the group said.
In remarks recorded for the event, one American lawmaker, Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, praised the Guatemalan leader “for his dedicated efforts to defend the lives of unborn children.” Mr. Daines, who is chairman of the Senate’s Pro-Life Caucus, said, “The unborn are under attack from powerful external forces, particularly in Latin America.”
The measure was greeted with mixed reactions in Guatemala, even among anti-abortion activists.
José Estuardo Córdova, legal director for the Family Matters Association, one of the country’s main anti-abortion groups, said that while the group supported harsher penalties for abortion providers, increasing penalties for women who undergo the procedure made less sense.
“I think it was approved a bit on the fly,” Mr. Córdova said. “The process of creating this bill has lacked serious technical analysis.”