By Dave Andrusko
At the eleventh hour, the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court on Wednesday ruled that changes to the criminal code which previously completely banned abortion were unconstitutional.
Reuters reported that last year the country’s congress changed the criminal code to allow abortion “in cases of rape, incest, a deformed fetus or when a woman’s life is in danger,” changes which were initiated and approved by President Danilo Medina. The new criminal code was to go into effect December 27.
The small Caribbean nation had passed a pro-life constitutional amendment in 2009 which was reinforced in 2014 by a bill that banned abortions. However Medina vetoed the bill and called for legislation to add the exceptions and the congress agreed setting the stage for Wednesday’s decision by the constitutional court.
The country has been under enormous outside pressure, in large measure from United Nations groups and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
In addition at almost the same time Medina was calling for changes to the Dominican Republic’s total ban on abortion, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet submitted legislation to that nation’s Congress to permit abortions in cases of rape and threats to the mother or baby’s life.