Magazine article Washington Report on the Hemisphere

Dominican Republic

Magazine article Washington Report on the Hemisphere

Dominican Republic

Article excerpt

"The Dominican Republic is one of the countries of the region with the highest maternal mortality rate, a phenomenon in which unsafe abortion practices plays an important role" says Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is also one of the seven countries in the Western hemisphere with an extremely restrictive ban on abortion, along with Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Suriname, and Honduras. Abortion is illegal in all circumstances in the Caribbean state, even when the fetus is not viable or when the life of the mother is at risk by continuing with the pregnancy.

Earlier this year, the Dominican Chamber of Deputies approved a bill reinforcing the existing abortion ban with a strict penal code. The version of the bill approved by the National Congress would penalize a woman should she attempt to terminate her pregnancy. President Medina vetoed the measure, explaining in a letter to the National Congress that the bill did not show respect for human physical and moral welfare, and that doctors must be able to act in order to save the mother's life without the fear of facing any penalty.

If the law had passed, not only the mother would have to face a sentence of two to three years but also anyone that collaborated in carrying out the abortion, including medical personnel involved. Anyone could face a sentence from four to ten years. Moreover, if a woman died while having an abortion, those that facilitated or assisted her would face a prison sentence of twenty to thirty years. …

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