Initiative to Legalize Safe and Free Abortion in Costa Rica Was Presented

    The “Aborto Legal Costa Rica Collective” presented the initiative, which must be backed by 5 percent of the country's electoral roll, to be discussed in Congress

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    Feminist groups presented a popular initiative that aims to bring to the Costa Rican Congress a bill on legal, safe and free abortion, for which they will need the signature of 5 percent of the electoral roll.

    The “Aborto Legal Costa Rica Collective”, within the framework of International Women’s Day, revealed at a press conference the launch of the “National Campaign for our right to decide” that aims to make the Costa Rican regulations compatible with the international agreements signed by the State regarding sexual and reproductive rights. For the exponents, the prevailing paradigm is the recognition of the autonomy of women and other people with the ability to gestate on their bodies and their lives.

    A necessary step

    “We are aware that the legalization of abortion is a necessary step to go further, towards the global emancipation of women and a socioeconomic project different from the current one. This debate can only be settled by the women’s movement, the result as history itself will write it with our fight. It will be law!”, said the spokeswoman for the group, Heidy Valencia.

    The project seeks changes in the legal framework such as legalizing the interruption of pregnancy and eliminating any trace of criminalization towards women who exercise that right, as well as guaranteeing free, safe and free abortions.

    In addition, it sanctions forms of violence originating from individuals, professionals or institutions that violate the autonomy and will of women and other people with the capacity to bear child, at the same time that it promotes a cultural change towards respect and the will and autonomy of people. With capacity to gestate in the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights through education, indicated the group.

    Recognizing the rights of women

    The text also encourages the recognition of the right of women and other people with the capacity to gestate to decide on their bodies and life projects. “It is our right to decide on our bodies and life projects to live desired maternity processes and guarantee a dignified development for minors as well as the right to live a sexuality free of violence and from consent,” added Valencia.

    For this initiative to reach the Legislative Assembly through the mechanism designed for it, it needs 5 percent of signatories to the electoral roll, around 180 thousand people according to the latest data.

    Current regulation falls short

    The group stressed that therapeutic abortion currently exists in the country, but that this “falls short” when considering the rates of adolescent pregnancy and the multiple rapes that exist in the country, therefore, it is necessary to have legislation on the subject of free access and education.

    Data cited by the organization in the project indicate that in the country 27,000 induced abortions are performed per year, which in its opinion, supports the need to legalize the right to voluntary interruption of pregnancy.

    In Costa Rica, the only legal abortion is therapeutic and last year the Ministry of Health approved a technical standard to specify its scope. Feminist groups will carry out this week demonstrations in the streets of San José to demand respect, no more gender violence, more equality and support for the abortion initiative.

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