“Let’s not let our values be taken away. In Costa Rica we are convinced that human life is inviolable, we made a forceful decision in this sense when in 1882 we abolished the death penalty”.
That is part of the response sent by the Catholic Church after the call made by the UN Rapporteur on the Right to Health, TlalengMofokeng, on the need to revamp the regulations on abortion in Costa Rica.
The expert was visiting the country recently. In her diagnosis, she covered that obstetric violence continues to occur and the problems that the restriction of abortion can generate.
Such assertions were rejected by the Church, which even questions the data offered
“It is convenient to differentiate between direct and indirect obstetric deaths. By virtue of which it would be absurd to affirm that the 22 indicated deaths would have been avoided if abortion were totally decriminalized in Costa Rica”, they argue.
They also reject the accusations of cultural aspects
“Regarding the statement that Costa Rica supposedly “discriminates”, we must indicate that abortion is the worst discrimination that a human being can suffer, since intentionally taking the life of a being in gestation, absolutely all their Human Rights”, they point out.
Finally, they listed norms such as the Political Constitution, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and other agreements that monitor the rights of children. “Let us invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, who sheltered in her womb the very Source of all life, so that by loving and defending human life from conception to natural death, we may continue to live in true peace.” they concluded.
Foreign Ministry also responded
The Foreign Ministry also responded to the UN observations.Although they announced that a response to all the observations would be detailed later, on the issue of abortion, he warned that national laws have clear rules.
“The Government of Costa Rica expresses its disagreement with the vision and recommendations expressed in its report. The prohibition of abortion in Costa Rica is intrinsic to our constitutional principle of protection of life, as a superior legal right, in accordance with article 21 of our Political Constitution, which establishes that human life is inviolable,” said Minister Arnoldo André.
“For the legal system of Costa Rica, the right to life is that fundamental right that every human being has -from the moment his life begins and until his death- to be and/or exist in accordance with his dignity. Likewise, this principle is enshrined in our Childhood and Adolescence Code of 1998, which declares the right to life from the moment of conception,” he added.
What the UN found
TlalengMofokeng was born in South Africa and is a medical doctor by profession. Her career has stood out for the study of HIV and the promotion of universal access to health.After a 10-day visit to Costa Rica, the analyst presented her findings in aspects of mental and physical health.
She spoke, for example, of waiting lists in the Costa Rican Social Security Fund
“Multiple stakeholders indicate serious concerns about long wait times for consultations, assessments and access to care that affect every aspect and level of the system and an indication of a system under pressure,” she said.
It also listed vulnerabilities in specific groups. In addition to the topic women for abortion, she mentioned:
- People with disabilities: There is little understanding or focus on the human rights of people with disabilities. Their collective voice is not taken into account.
- LGBT population: high concern because the so-called “conversion therapies” are still available.
- Adolescents: a greater focus is needed towards the dignity and autonomy of these minors.
- Migrants: solidarity and continuous cooperation must be maintained to attend to this segment of the inhabitants; both settled and in transit.
- Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples: racist practices in health are identified. It is suggested that more contextualization practices be generated, where systems that recognize the cultural practices of native peoples are adopted.
Regarding the issues that work positively, she highlighted Law 7,600, which directly impacts the inclusion of people with disabilities.Policies on aging, anti-discrimination plans and approaches to further adapt some issues to communities (as was done in the times of Covid) were also reviewed. In turn, the participation of both the public and private sectors in health management was highlighted.