COSTA RICA NEWS — Costa Rica has been hit with an indemnity judgement of us$2.2 million from 22 couples who charged that the lawmakers of this country are dragging their feet in approving in vitro fertilization (IVF) so that married women who have difficulty conceiving are forced to have the procedure done in other countries.

The Catholic Church and the Evangelics bitterly have opposed the procedure as unnatural despite what appears as a softening of Church rigidity regarding gays and divorcees. Lawyer Hubert May, representing the couples, told La Nacion that each couple would receive US$100,000 as damages.

In November, 2012, the InterAmerican Human Rights Court found against this country in having a law forbidding the use of the procedure. The Court said it was a violation of the rights of every woman who had trouble bearing a child. For a time, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela funded trips to his country which allows in vitro methods.

Nearly two years later, lawmakers, fear a reaction from both Protestants and Catholics opposed to the medical implanting of fertilized eggs in the mother. But the population if this country might well turn out to be more liberal than its weak-kneed representatives in the Legislative Assembly.

A bill was drafted to legalize in vitro but is languishing for a lack of support to bring it out into the light of day from its file drawer. During the 2010-14 term, the Evangelical deputy in charge of the human rights committee acted as a roadblock for not only this issue but some gay rights as well.,

The couples in the case are not all poor. According to May, some couples in the suit have left the country as high as five times to seek the procedure in other countries but without medical success. The 22 cases were not a class action but each couple filed their own separate complaint.

The situation is a prickly one for this country. The nation has always been proud of its human rights position and to be condemned by a human rights court is a huge embarrassment. But, evidently, still not big enough to move timid politicians.

Article by, reposted with permission

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