Local December 16, 2014 | 4:19 pm

Pro-choice vote a stunning blow to Catholic Church

Santo Domingo.- After a 4-hour debate the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday approved president Danilo Medina’s observations on the amendment to the Criminal Code, to allow certain forms of abortion.

The approval of the observations deals a stunning and unprecedented defeat to the Catholic Church, which staged a nationwide campaign to keep abortions criminalized.

Of the deputies present, 93 voted for the amendment against 66 who voted no, and 12 abstained.

Just hours earlier Presidency Administrative minister Jose Ramon Peralta on Tuesday said a consensus has been reached to amend the Penal Code, since 85.7% of the population supports Medina’s veto of legislation that would’ve criminalized all forms of abortion.

"I think we’re reaching a level of consensus, I think today will be announced in the Chamber (of Deputies), and what we perceive, what we feel is a very broad consensus …’the night is never darker than before the dawn’, yesterday it seemed everything was over and today we see the lights and we’re quite confident," the official said.

He said the country will work out this difficult issue just as others with which the government has had to deal with.

Although he didn’t specify the source of the figure, Peralta reiterated that 85.7% of the population agrees with the President’s position, noting that “this is a respectful Government.”

He denied that Medina’s potential reelection bid is behind the issue of abortion, as prominent Catholic priest Manuel Ruiz claimed Monday. "That’s false," he said when fielding reporters’ questions at the National Palace.

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