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Changes to the Penal Code focuses the attention of the country

SANTO DOMINGO. The country’s attention will focus today on the Chamber of Deputies, which has on its agenda the hot potato of dealing with the observations by President Danilo Medina to the Dominican Penal Code regarding articles 107, 108, 109 and 110, relating to the controversial issue of abortion.

Without a defined consensus, and under the bombardment of pressures which come from government, the civil society, the Catholic Church and some of the evangelical churches, the legislators should decide if they accept the observations by the President or if they are to be rejected. In both cases the legislative proposal will have to go to the Senate.

The atmosphere that is expected outside of the Congress is one of tension, since the groups that defend the two positions in conflict will take up their posts early in the morning in order to argue their points of view.

In order to accept the observations made by the President, they would need – according to the Constitution – the votes of two thirds of the deputies that attend the session.

Until now, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) says that it will vote for the observations by the President, while the Social Christian Reformist Party and the Dominican Revolutionary Party are in opposition, and the Modern Revolutionary Party has left the decision up to its members’ conscience.

PLD bloc

The spokesman for the PLD bloc of deputies, Ruben Maldonado, insisted yesterday that this group of deputies will take a unified position today to the Chamber of Deputies, accepting the observations made by the Executive Power.

He said that they would approve the legislation with a simple majority. “Tomorrow (today) the PLD bloc will come with a unified position. We are going to support the observations that the President of the Republic made to the Penal Code,” he said.

PRD with rejection

The spokesman for the PRD deputies, Ruddy Gonzalez, reiterated yesterday that it would be unconstitutional for the Chamber of Deputies to accept the observations made to the Penal Code by the Executive Power because they violate the right to life clause and also because Congress is not authorized to modify this legislative proposal once again.

Yesterday Miguel Vargas said from Spain that the observations made by President Danilo Medina to the legislative proposal to reform the Penal Code are unnecessary and unfair, since in its article 22 the Code establishes the State of Need, which permits the therapeutic abortion in case the life of the mother is in danger.

They call for profound consideration of the observations; the proposal for “indirect abortion”

Pina urges

The Judicial Consultant of the Executive Power, Cesar Pina Toribio, yesterday urged the Congress to weigh with serenity and responsibility the observations made to the Penal Code referring to abortion and he said that it is not necessary to have an alternate text that specifies the observations as some sectors have indicated.

Indirect abortion?

The CODUE and other evangelical church councils favored the “indirect abortion” in order to save the life of the fetus, without putting in danger the life of the mother. They suggest that the “therapeutic abortion” does not serve this end, and they are trying to make clear the criminal responsibilities regarding abortion.


The Catholics, headed by the bishops, met yesterday in prayer, and reiterated their posture of rejecting abortion.

The evangelicals, through the Dominican Council of Evangelical Unity (CODUE) and other councils returned to the National Congress, were they delivered a new document to the Chamber of Deputies, in which they stressed that they were able to obtain the support of 90% of the evangelical churches, which are some 12,000, reiterating their firm rejection of the observations made to the Penal Code with relation to the interruption of pregnancy. They announced that they would return today in order to observe the ordinary session in the Chamber of Deputies.

Fidel Lorenzo, the CODUE President, doubted that these observations would be approved by the deputies “because there is no consensus among them,” however, he warned that if they accept the proposal that was returned, they already have prepared a lawsuit to be submitted before the Constitutional Tribunal.

The Coalition

At the other extreme, the Coalition for Rights and Life of Women, which is composed of 31 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) together with the Dominican Medical College and the Dominican College of Journalists, convened for today a concentration in front of the National Congress at 9:00 in the morning in order to demand that the legislators respect a woman’s right to decide on her maternity, as well is that of the persons with disabilities.

The CMD President

The President of the Medical College, Pedro Sing, said that the moment has arrived in the Dominican Republic to travel the road of ethics, morality, science and the freedom which a woman has to decide her own life.

Source: DiarioLibre

Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 25, 2017 at 5:40 PM
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