Dominican Republic Catholics Say President Must Enter Abortion Debate

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 21, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21,

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ( — Catholic leaders in the Dominican Republican say President Leonel Fernandez needs to weigh in on the abortion debate taking place there. Abortion advocates hope to make it the next nation to legalize abortion and Catholic groups are leading the fight against it.

On Friday, Dominican Episcopal Conference president Ramon Benito de la Rosa presented the president with a letter urging him to take a public stance against a bill in the nation’s Congress that would allow abortions.

He said Fernandez “sooner or later will have to state his view on this topic."

The letter also reiterated complaints first laid out by Cardinal Nicholas De Jesus Lopez Rodriquez, who alleged last week that United Nations officials and representatives of pro-abortion groups are trying to pay lawmakers to vote for the abortion bill.

"We want to call attention to the pressures that International Organisms and some NGOs exert on our Government and the legislators," the letter said, according to a Dominican Today report.

"Let’s don’t forget that behind the pro-abortionist practice there is a large business. It’s no surprise, then, that they seek to bribe in this issue" it adds.

Rodriquez said members of some UN non-governmental organizations are resorting to bribery to get the legislators to back the abortion bill.

“There are powerful international hands behind this,” Rodriguez said. “To me, this is nothing strange. They have done it throughout the entire world.”

Amable Aristy Castro, the presidential candidate for the opposition PRSC party and Ramón Rogelio Genao, its leading representative in Congress, supported the comments.

Aristy Castro said his party would act “against the perverse attempts to legalize the death of innocent children."

But ruling PLD party spokesman Alejandro Montás said he respected the cardinal but did not see any of the vote-buying activities Cardinal Rodriquez said were occurring.

The nation has become the latest abortion battleground in the region and its legislature has held two hearings on a measure to make abortion legal and plans to discuss it a third time.

Abortion advocates are continuing the campaign to get the Latin American nation to reform its penal code and legalize abortion. They are making the nation their next target after getting Mexico City to legalize abortions there.

The proposal by several pro-abortion groups to legalize so-called therapeutic abortions has resulted in intense debate.

Abortion is currently illegal for any reason in the nation and those who do abortions face anywhere from six months to two years in prison for causing them.

Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic outreach director for National Right to Life, told that "Latin America continues to be under attack from pro-abortion forces who want to see the same type of abortion on demand for any reason in those countries as we have here in the United States."