Catholic bishops in the Dominican Republic urged lawmakers Sunday to uphold the country’s constitutional right to life and reject a proposal to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
The Catholic News Agency reports the Congress of the Dominican Republic is considering legislation, supported by President Luis Abinader, to legalize abortions in cases of rape, severe fetal anomalies and situations involving “the health of the mother.”
On Sunday, the Dominican Catholic bishops’ conference spoke out against the legislation, slamming the notion that “sacrificing innocent children” through abortion is somehow “progress,” according to the report.
“We are shocked to know that in our society there are those who think that sacrificing innocent children under euphemistic names such as ‘a decision about one’s own body,’ ‘women’s empowerment’ or ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ can be seen as part of authentic progress,” they said in a statement.
The bishops said the proposal also would violate the country’s constitution, which recognizes the right to life for all human beings.
“Life is the first civil right that is mentioned in our Constitution in [Article] 37, which reads: ‘The right to life is inviolable from conception to death.’ Life is a right prior to all legislation. Without life there are no possibilities to enjoy any other right,” the bishops said.
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They continued: “According to our own Constitution, the State cannot apply the death penalty even to the worst offenders, since it says: ‘The death penalty may not be established, pronounced or applied, in any case.’ So, how to accept that in our country abortion is consecrated, in the so-called three causes, in which innocent creatures are killed, the nasciturus (the unborn child)?”
Instead, the bishops said Dominican leaders should support policies that “love life” and recognize motherhood as “one of the great treasures that the Dominican woman and our Nation have.”
In December, President Abinader acknowledged that most Dominicans oppose abortion, but he defended the legislation anyway, according to the report.
“I disagree, as does the majority of the population, not only in the Dominican Republic but also in the world, with free abortion, but I do think that there must be grounds that allow the interruption of the pregnancy,” he told the Spanish newspaper El País. “That has been the official position of our party.”
Across Central and South America, countries are facing intense pressure from world leaders to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions. Argentina caved into the pressure in December and legalized abortions for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Now, abortion activists hope other countries on the pro-life continent will follow. Much of the pressure to legalize abortion comes from the United Nations and abortion advocacy groups, which are financed by some of the richest men in the world.