Tlaleng Mofokeng, special rapporteur of the United Nations Organization (UN), declared during a 10-day visit to Costa Rica, that the country is not aligned with human rights norms and clinical protocols, by penalizing abortion. As she expressed, the penal and legal restrictions on abortion are discriminatory in nature, restrict autonomy and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, for which she urged to amend the restrictions to decriminalize abortion, because for her it is the opportune moment for the right to health is included in the Constitution as an integral right.
Given these statements, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Arnoldo André, sent a letter to Mofokeng in which he responded to the recommendations provided on the issue of abortion. “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 good, in accordance with article 21 of our Political Constitution, which establishes that human life is inviolable”, says the letter sent by the minister.
André also referred to the Costa Rican legal system, established in the Childhood and Adolescence Code of 1998. It explains the right to life as a fundamental right that every human being has from the moment, he begins his life and until his death, to be and exist according to his dignity. He referred to article 31 of the Civil Code of Costa Rica: “-The existence of the natural person begins at birth alive and is considered born for everything that favors it from 300 days before its birth”.
He also mentioned that the principle of human life is inviolable from its gestation, it is protected in the Preamble of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959, and that at the international level, the right is enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José). “In accordance with our indicated national and international legislation, our legal framework penalizes abortion in articles 118, 119, 120 and 122 belonging to the chapter on Crimes against Life of the Penal Code. Costa Rica does recognize the right to therapeutic abortion. In fact, non-punishable abortion is stipulated in our Penal Code article 121, promulgated in 1970 and in force since 1971”, André added in his letter.
Catholic Church calls not to let the values of the country be taken away
The Catholic Church, through its Family and Life Ministry Department, expressed its dissatisfaction with the statements of the UN special rapporteur. That is why he shared a series of reflections, in which he recalled that, in 2021, of 54,288 births, unfortunately 22 maternal deaths were reported, “a low figure because in Costa Rica pregnant women have access to good health services, although there are always things to improve”, he asserted.
“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. We must remember that our country has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in Latin America”, he highlights among the reflections.
Regarding the statement that the country discriminates for not allowing abortion, the church stressed that abortion is the worst discrimination that a human being can suffer, since it emphasizes that by intentionally taking the life of a being in gestation, absolutely all their human rights are taken away. “The inviolability of life covers all unborn children for their best interest. They too are part of the human family. In any case, human life is also protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child”, added the Department of Family Pastoral and life.
In the same way, he called for values not to be snatched away, since he considers that the imposition of re-establishing that penalty for the most innocent and defenseless human beings cannot be allowed.
Evangelical Alliance calls on the Government to defend the sovereignty of our country
The Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance rejected the advice of Mofokeng and called on the Government of Costa Rica to defend the country’s sovereignty, in the face of pressure from the UN, which it qualifies as disrespectful. It also called for “respect and protect the fundamental right to life of every person, especially that of the unborn,” as well as “not to give up protecting life as the main human right“.
For the Alliance, acceding as a country to what the UN recommended would be the same as accepting abortion as a human right, with all the negative implications that this action may entail. “If as a country we give in to external pressure to decriminalize abortion, it would mark the difference between life and death for thousands of children who would see their right to be born cut short, denying them the human right to life, enshrined in the American Convention of Human Rights”, concluded the Alliance.