Monday, April 19

A Dominican commission of deputies proposes decriminalizing abortion

International NGOs support the decriminalization of abortion in the Dominican Republic.

International NGOs support the decriminalization of abortion in the Dominican Republic.

A commission of deputies from the Dominican Republic, which presented on Wednesday the draft reform of the Penal Code, proposed to decriminalize abortion only when the life of the mother or fetus is in danger.

Article 112 of the report submitted this Wednesday to the plenary session of the Lower House, to which EFE had access, proposes to decriminalize abortion when, to save the mother’s life and of the fetus in danger, “all available scientific and technical means are exhausted as far as possible.”

Two of the nine members of the commission did not sign the document, which contains 412 articles.

Jail for all other situations

In this way, the Penal Code, if approved in this way, would maintain prison sentences for the rest of the circumstances, including the serious malformation of the fetus and in case of rape or incest, cases whose decriminalization is claimed by feminists and other social groups.

Article 109 of the draft Penal Code suggests penalties two to three years in prison for whoever causes the interruption of pregnancy or cooperates with this purpose, even when the woman consents.

In paragraph I of that article, a woman who causes an abortion or who consents to use the substances indicated or administered for that purpose, or who consents to submit to the same, is punished with imprisonment for one to two years. abortifacient means. The second paragraph reads that if the abortion does not occur, but an injury or disease is caused to the fetus that seriously impairs its normal development or causes the person born a severe physical or mental impairment, the perpetrator will be punished with one to two years in prison. In these cases the State will assume guardianship absolute of the boy or girl.

Two to three years in prison would be imposed on doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals, as well as midwives who, “abusing their profession or trade”, cause or help to cause abortion. In the event that the woman dies from the abortion, those found guilty will be sentenced to between four to ten years in prison.

Deputies for and against

The plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies began on Wednesday the reading of the draft Penal Code, but the articles that address the controversy of the termination of pregnancy were not reached. Although the abortion was not read in the session, several deputies they hung colored handkerchiefs on their microphones to position themselves in favor or oppossing.

Those in favor of decriminalization wore green handkerchiefs, the color used by feminists in Argentina, and the opponents, light blue, the color that those attending a caravan called by the Catholic and Evangelical Churches will wear next Saturday.

Other avenues for decriminalization

The Chamber of Deputies has created a special commission to study a specific law that addresses all three causes, the approval of which is an old demand by feminists.

Last week, Dominican President Luis Abinader suggested that citizens be the ones to decide on the eventual decriminalization of abortion, given that the issue divides the country and the political parties. Last February the government sent a bill to Congress to regulate the organization of referendums, which would allow the bill to be submitted to popular vote.

The Dominican Constitution recognizes the right to life from the moment of conception, which makes this country one of the six in the Americas that maintain a total ban on abortion, along with El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and Suriname.

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