Caminata por el derecho a la vida de las mujeres, Dominican Republic

(Walk for the right to life of women)

On 25 June, hundreds of women took to the streets of the capital of the Dominican Republic, demanding the country’s lawmakers approve a bill that would decriminalise abortion when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life, is the result of rape, or when the fetus is unviable.

The demonstrators walked through the historic town centre and gathered at Independence Park, where they read a communique demanding the right to abortion. The criminalisation of abortion, the document said, is a violation of the constitution, as well as many international agreements signed by the country in order to protect women’s reproductive and sexual rights.

The protest comes one month after the Senate, where the opposition Dominican Liberation Party holds the majority, refused to reform the criminal code on the recommendation of the administration of the President Danilo Medina.

In December 2015, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court decided to reinstate a total ban on abortion, meaning that any woman or doctor found responsible for carrying out an abortion can be sentenced to 2-10 years in prison.

The bill was being debated in the legislature’s Commission of Justice in the lower chamber. Lawmaker Faride Raful, from the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party, revealed that 11 out of 15 members of the Commission had rejected Medina’s recommendation to decriminalise abortion on the three grounds stated above.

SOURCE: Telesur TV, 25 June 2017 ; PHOTOS: @SergiaGalvan  and Reuters