Dominican Republic approves complete ban on abortion
As reported by Catholic Exchange, lawmakers in the Dominican Republic gave their final
approval last week to a "pro-life constitutional change" stating that “the right to life is inviolable from
conception until death.” The Dominican Republic’s National Assembly easily ratified a
revision of Article 30 in a vote of 128 in favor with 32 opposed.
While the measure was widely supported by Dominican
parliamentarians, it met with staunch opposition from both UN agencies and non-governmental organizations concerned with women’s rights, women’s health, high teen birth rates in the DR, and the likelihood that such a ban will lead to an increase in unsafe and clandestine procedures.
United Nations Program for Human Development coordinator Miguel
Ceara Hatton criticized the change in law, stating that the "the constitutional revision
encourages the incidence of clandestine abortions and maternal deaths
and disregards a woman’s right to life."
Another official "took aim at the
Catholic Church stating that it had “influenced in everything” and
that, “for following a dogma [the Church] has become a source and a
motor for social exclusion in the Dominican Republic. The dogma is
placed ahead of the needs of the population, health, housing and better
The article reports that:
Non-governmental organizations have also condemned the
constitutional change. Amnesty International (AI) has been at the
center of an ongoing campaign against the Dominican right-to-life
provision. In a report released earlier this year, AI claimed that the
Dominican Republic’s constitutional and legal reforms “could lead to
violations of women’s human rights” and that laws penalizing abortion
would lead to increased maternal mortality. Before the final vote last
week, AI called on the Congress of the Dominican Republic to reject the
right to life from “conception until death” part of Article 30.
The constitutional reform in the Dominican Republic echoes similar
changes enacted at the state level in Mexico, where 12 states have
recently adopted constitutional amendments declaring that life begins
at conception. These follow the criminalization of abortion under all
circumstances by Nicaragua in 2006, and El Salvador in 1998.
Anti-choice groups unhappy with selection of Paul Kirk to replace Kennedy
USA Today reports that a number of anti-choice groups are unhappy with the selection of Paul Kirk, a close Kennedy confidante, to replace the late Senator.
Paul Kirk has never held elective office before and, in five months,
the man named Thursday to stand in for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy will
be replaced by the winner of a special election.
So why, asks USA Today, are anti-abortion rights group be displeased with his appointment?
After all, Kirk is practically Boston Catholic royalty. According to Michael Paulson at The Boston Globe, he’s
grand-nephew of Cardinal William H. O’Connell, one of the most powerful
figures in local church history, who served as archbishop of Boston
from 1907 until his death in 1944. (Kirk’s grandfather was an older
brother of the Cardinal).
Anti-choice groups are concerned, however, that Kirk will be supportive of ensuring that private insurance plans can continue to cover abortion care even in cases where federal subsidies exists within the program.
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