Dominican Republic Senate passes abortion ban, may face veto from president

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In July, the Dominican Republic Chamber of Deputies approved an abortion ban as part of a new version of the island nation’s Criminal Code. On Wednesday, the legislation passed the Senate and now faces the threat of veto from President Danilo Medina, who has refused to sign pro-life legislation before.

In 2014, Medina vetoed legislation maintaining the Dominican Republic’s full ban on abortion, insisting that exceptions be added to the Criminal Code on abortion. According to Caribbean News Now, the version of the bill passed on Wednesday includes an exception for the life of the mother, after “all attempts had been made to save both the lives of the woman and the foetus.”

As has been the case for decades, the tiny nation faces pressure from outside pro-abortion groups to abandon pro-life laws. Amnesty International, an organization which has described abortion restrictions as “tantamount to torture,” claims that passage of the bill “would constitute a regression in the rights of women and girls.” Amnesty International does not comment on whether it considers abortion procedures themselves, like the common D&E described in the video below, to be torture:

But many citizens feel that pro-life legislation is a step forward in the protection of human life, one of the most basic duties of government. Earlier this year, when the abortion ban cleared the House of Delegates, Fidel Lorenzo, president of the Dominican Evangelical Unity Council, praised the pro-life legislation as positive progress: “It’s a significant step taken by the country. We have a code in keeping with the times after more than 15 years of struggles and defending the culture of protection of life.”

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