Legislators on Monday afternoon approved, with only one vote different, 27 votes in favor and 26 against, to make an excitatory to President Carlos Alvarado to refrain from issuing or expanding by decree the technical standard for the application of Article 121 of the Criminal Code, related to therapeutic abortion.
Legislators of several fractions presented a motion in the Full Legislature last week so that the government does not sign the protocol to apply the therapeutic abortion that would allow this practice when the life of the baby or the woman is at risk.
The proposal was raised by Shirley Diaz, a member of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) who had the support of more than 20 legislators at the time of presenting it.
The hard-fought vote showed the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN and the ruling party, Partido Accion Cuiadana (PAC) as well as José María Villalta of Frente Amplio and Zoila Rosa Volio of the Partido Integración Nacional (PIN) with their opposition to the proposal.
While the PUSC, Restauración Nacional, independent legislators, in addition to legislators of the Republicano Social Cristiano (PRSC)and two of the PIN, voting in favor of making that request to the President.
The motion, voted Monday afternoon, reads: “So that the Legislative Plenary agrees to send a respectful excitatory to the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, so that he refrain from issuing or expanding by decree, interpretation, regulation, protocol, legal reform or any rule in relation to impunity abortion of article 121 of the Penal Code”.
Article 121 of the Penal Code decriminalizes abortion when the life of the mother is in danger.
However, many doctors in Costa Rica will not perform therapeutic abortion claiming lack of clarity in the legislation. They also fear for the legal implications of the procedure and, at the same time, point to ethical reasons.
The President had asked the legislators Monday morning to hold a discussion on the issue but on a technical level, without relying on a debate full of misinformation.
“Costa Rica aspires to be a mature society where respect for the law prevails and that is my expectation, which will help the citizens to know more and be able to form criteria,” Alvarado said.