The Senate of Puerto Rico has approved this Tuesday a decree that prohibits the interruption of abortion after 22 weeks of gestation after receiving 16 votes in favor of the 14 necessary in the Upper House.
After a debate of more than three hours, the Puerto Rican Senate has endorsed that everything conceived in the womb of 22 weeks or more of gestation be considered “viable”, with the exception of some criteria that must be determined by the doctor, according to The Senate of Puerto Rico has reported in a statement.
With this bill, the Department of Health must carry out a registry of abortions and, in addition, the prohibition of abortion for women victims of rape is eliminated.
The senator of the conservative Dignity Project and president of the Life and Family Affairs Commission, Rodríguez Veve, who has worked on and defended the measure, has stated “I believe in the defense of life from conception, however, today I am willing to favor this project of members of three delegations. A project that recognizes the right to privacy of women is not an absolute one, but it is one that finds its limits compared to other rights such as life”.
Likewise, Veve has assured that this measure seeks to protect the lives of those premature babies who could be born after five and a half months of gestation.
Veve has also pointed out that the decree establishes that “the termination of the pregnancy can only be carried out if the mother is in danger of life or death or severe disability; due to a fetal anomaly incompatible with life or due to a medical determination of fetal inviability.”
In addition, the Senator explained that amendments have been included, such as the elimination of the requirement of the document that had the woman’s signature on informed consent, or the requirement of two doctors in late-term abortion procedures.
Criticism of restricting abortion
The senator of the progressive Citizen Victory Movement, Ana Irma Rivera, has been against the bill and has argued that “this is a project that implies the regression of women’s rights.”
“This project aims to take Puerto Rico to the 1800s, which aims to create obstacles for women to make decisions about their bodies. We are concerned that this project goes beyond the recommendations of medical panels, the Department of Health and Justice” , added Rivera, according to the Senate document.
For her part, the senator of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, María de Lourdes Santiago, has indicated that “when this motherhood is desired, it is the greatest occasion for joy that can be had.”
“epidemic” of abortions
However, Santiago has assured that the “imposition of unwanted motherhood is a source of pain and marginalization.”
In turn, independent senator José Vargas Vidot has highlighted that the bill brings Puerto Rico “increasingly closer to the past,” and has maintained that the effect of the decree is “to return to the hook, it is to expose the person who does not have recourse to risking his life”.
“We are not talking about an epidemic of abortions, in Puerto Rico that does not exist,” he has sentenced.