In the last few months one main legal and policy regression has been registered in relation to legal abortion. In Dominican Republic, the article in the text of the Constitutional Reform that makes illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy under any circumstance was approved by the Congress despite a major advocacy effort on the part of reproductive rights activists. The direct influence of the Catholic Church Hierarchy on the legislative process was blatant and the outcome has pushed Dominican Republic into the small group of countries that prohibited abortion in all circumstances.
In contrast, the reform announced early this year to revise the 1985 Spanish abortion legislation is moving forward, despite the strong and systematic reaction mobilized by the Catholic Church and other conservative sectors. In late September, the Zapatero government approved the draft law provision, which will be soon sent to Parliament. In the process leading to the draft provision, the main controversies turned around specific rules in the case of women under 18 and the question consciousness objection.
Read in this issue:
> Dominican Republic: Amnesty International releases a briefing note on the proposed constitutional right to life provision which would enshrine the inviolability of life from “conception to death”. Read also Global Voices Online blog with “Dominican Republic: Constitution Bans Abortion in All Cases” (also in Spanish and Portuguese), by Rocío Diaz.
> Spain: Spain Steps Into Battle With Itself on Abortion. NYT says new rules would guarantee access to abortions in the public health sector by limiting the scope for doctors to object on the basis of conscience. In the other hand, a draft of this bill has ignited the Catholic Church, which called its congregation as well as the Catholic politicians to vote against the bill even though it has not yet been submitted to Congress. Read also news at El País website (in Spanish) and CCR website (only in Portguese).
> Philippines: Man nabbed in Quiapo for delivering abortion pills (read also in Portuguese)
> Nicaragua: Read the report The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women’s lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized, launched by Amnesty International.
– The Department for International Development’s (DFID) new Policy Position on Safe and Unsafe Abortion.
– The report Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress, written by Guttmacher Institute