Local December 5, 2015 | 9:05 am

Total abortion ban in DR puts women’s lives at risk: rights groups

Santo Domingo.– Rights groups in the Dominican Republic said the decision by the constitutional court to reinstate a total ban on abortion is putting women’s lives at risk and takes women’s and girls’ human rights back to the 19th century.

Last year a reform passed by the congress and approved by President Danilo Medina amended the country’s criminal code to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, a deformed foetus or when a woman’s life is in danger.

The reform was set to take effect on December 27 this year but after an appeal by religious and conservative groups who said the Dominican laws and constitution must protect the rights of an unborn child at all costs, the court ruled changes to the criminal code dating back to 1884 were unconstitutional.

According to several rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Women and Health Collective, the impact of the absolute ban on abortion will be catastrophic for women and girls who will continue to be criminalized, stigmatized and forced to seek out unsafe abortions because they are denied access to safe and legal medical treatment.

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