Dominican Republic Reaffirms Commitment Against Legalizing Abortion

Dominican legislators have reaffirmed their opposition to abortion, which is illegal in all cases in the Caribbean country.

Lawmakers on Thursday easily approved a provision that said "the right to life is inviolable from conception until death." It is included in a constitutional reform bill submitted by President Leonel Fernandez.

Abortion is prohibited in all cases in the Dominican Republic, even in cases of rape or incest or when the health of the mother is in danger.

The vote reaffirming the country's stance on abortion was applauded by priests and Dominican Catholics who gathered at the legislature.

The Rev. Manuel Ruiz said the right-to-life provision was a cause for celebration and represented a strong protection for families. He said that activists who protested against the measure had wanted to start a "culture of abortion" in the Dominican Republic.

After the vote, a frustrated activist, Sergia Galvan, told reporters the Catholic Church wanted to take people back to "medieval times," saying lawmakers were afraid of losing votes in a nation estimated to be 95 percent Roman Catholic.