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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Abortion ban overrides women´s health
10/1/2009
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Constitutional reform to define life as beginning at “conception” passes easily.

A decision by lawmakers from Dominican Republic on Sept. 17 which reaffirmed the country´s total ban on abortion on Sept. 17, by approving constitutional reform that defines life as beginning at conception, drew harsh criticism from women´s rights activists.

The right to life “is inviolable from the moment of conception,” read the reform, which was submitted by President Leonel Fernández to the assembly reforming the country´s constitution.

The country´s six-decade ban on abortion, which prohibits the practice even in cases of rape, incest, or if the life and health of the mother is in jeopardy, was not previously in the Dominican constitution.

“Dominican Parliamentarians have delivered a huge blow to the right to life of women and girls,” said Susan Lee, Americas Director of Amnesty International.

“When abortion is totally banned, the rates of maternal mortality grow because doctors are unable or fearful of providing life-saving treatment that is contraindicated with pregnancy, even when it´s the only way to save the patient,” said Lee.

“Now that it has been approved, Article 30 could severely limit the availability of safe abortions, even in cases when a woman is suffering from life-threatening complications or is in need of life-saving treatment incompatible with pregnancy – such as that for malaria, cancer or HIV/AIDS,” Amnesty said in a statement.
—Latinamerica Press.


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