Urgent Action Update: Abortion Vote Pending After President's Veto (Dominican Republic: UA 151/16)

Urgent Action
January 23, 2017
In December 2016, the Dominican President rejected a regressive reform of the Criminal Code regarding abortion that had previously been adopted by the Senate. The President has returned the text to the Congress urging legislators to decriminalize abortion in the Dominican Republic.
On 19 December 2016 President Danilo Medina vetoed a new version of the Criminal Code approved on 14 December by the Senate (upper chamber of the Dominican Congress) that represented a step back for the rights of Dominican women and girls. The text was previously approved by the Chamber of Deputies (lower chamber) in July. President Medina had rejected a similar reform proposed in 2014 and asked for decriminalization of abortion in limited circumstances in the country. His latest veto reaffirms his previous stance in favour of the rights of women and girls.
In a letter sent to the President of the Senate, President Danilo Medina rejected the proposed reform and recommended that the Criminal Code clearly specify the situations which would represent exceptions to the criminalization of abortion: where pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or girl, in cases where the foetus will be unable to survive outside the womb, and in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
On 11 January 2017 the Senate appointed a nine-member Commission tasked with looking at the presidential observations and issuing a report within 15 days for the Senate to subsequently vote on. According to Art. 102 of the Dominican Constitution, the president’s observations can only be circumvented if both chambers of the Congress adopt the initial version with a majority of two-thirds of the members.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Urging the Special Commission of the Senate to adopt without modification the President’s recommendations and to expressly recommend to both chambers of the Congress to vote in favour of the observations;
  • Expressing your profound concern that women and girls in the Dominican Republic are at risk of having their rights to life, health and freedom from discrimination, and from torture and ill-treatment violated if the criminalization of abortion is maintained;
  • Calling on them to ensure access to abortion both in law and in practice, at a minimum, in cases where pregnancy poses a risk to the life or the physical or mental health of a pregnant woman or girl, in cases where the foetus will be unable to survive outside the womb, and in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Contact these two officials by 24 February, 2017:
President of the Special Commission
Senador Rafael Calderón
Senado de la República Av. Enrique Jiménez Moya, Esq. Juan de Dios Ventura Simó, Centro de los Héroes de Constanza, Maimón y Estero Hondo (La Feria), Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Twitter: @senadorcalderon
Salutation: Señor Senador / Dear Senator
Ambassador José Tomás Pérez
Embassy of the Dominican Republic
1715 22nd St. NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202 265 8057 I Phone: 202 332 6280
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
In addition to contacting the aforementioned officials, please tweet at the following senators:
Tweet @senadorcalderon and @JCesarValentin: We welcome your stance in favour of women’s rights in the DR. Help us convince other Senators to support the decriminalization of abortion
Tweet @JosePaliza, @amable_aristy, @SenadorCanaanRD, @senadorasantana, @PedroSenadoOcoa, @SenadorMonNouel, @senadorepdom, and @ReinaldoPared: The prohibition of abortion kills women & girls in DR. Support women’s rights like @senadorcalderon and @JCesarValentin #aborto3causales!
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