Human Rights Watch
August 31, 2023
The National Confederation of Rural Women (Confederación Nacional de Mujeres del Campo or CONAMUCA), Network of United Youth Voices (Red Juvenil Voces Unidas), the Coalition for Women’s Life and Dignity (Coalición por la Vida y la Dignidad de las mujeres), and Human Rights Watch write in advance of the 94th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the “Committee”) and its review of the Dominican Republic. This submission addresses articles 3, 6, 24, 28, and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and covers access to abortion and specific aspects of the right to education.
The total abortion ban in the Dominican Republic, in effect since 1884, threatens the health and lives of girls, women, and pregnant people, and is incompatible with the country’s international human rights obligations.
Afro-feminist movements push for comprehensive sex education, a cultural shift, and exceptions to a total abortion ban.
By Natalia Perez-Gonzalez
FEBRUARY 22, 2023
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—There’s a citywide blackout. No street lights, no shop lights—just headlights from passing cars. “This is just your typical Friday night,” Alicia Mendez Medina says, and a bodega worker nods from behind her. Alicia bids her goodbye and we head to Parque Duarte, the place many have described as “the it spot” for nightlife in Santo Domingo. She orders some wine.
“This country is a mess,” she laughs, and pours herself a glass. I can only see her cheekbones and her eyes, her back illuminated by phone flashlights from passersby. We restart our conversation, this time in almost complete darkness.
Specialist warns that causing abortion is always dangerous
Note: Headline does not represent what the specialist said
February 16, 2023
On a daily basis, the country’s health centers receive cases of patients of all ages who have medical complications as a result of induced abortions performed under unsafe conditions that endanger their health and lives. The consequences of having an unsafe abortion, whether because the woman ingested pills or another substance or because it was induced by another person, can range from emotional consequences to permanent anemia, mutilations, irreversible damage to the uterus, and even death.
This is how Dr. César López, president of the Dominican Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, explains it, noting that in cases like this, where a woman’s life is put in danger, especially if she is an adolescent, no one is innocent, and there are responsibilities from all sectors, including a lack of sexual education in schools and the family itself. “Provoking or inducing an abortion will always be dangerous, and even more so if all the conditions that must be met, such as asepsis, correct anesthesia, and the expertise of the doctor who performs it, are not met,” he explained.
Advocates say court ruling that decriminalises abortion in rape cases is an important step, but struggle continues.
By Vincent Ricci
7 May 2021
Quito, Ecuador – Women’s rights advocates have hailed a recent court ruling that will ease restrictions on abortion in cases of rape in Ecuador, the latest country in Latin America to be swept up in the “green wave” abortion rights movement.
In a 7-2 vote on April 28, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador deemed unconstitutional a previous ban that outlawed abortions except in cases where a woman’s life was in danger, or if a woman with a mental disability was raped.
Lawmakers Should Enact Proposed Criminal Code Reform
April 22, 2021
Human Rights Watch
(Washington, DC) – The Congress of the Dominican Republic should adopt a proposal to decriminalize abortion in three circumstances as a matter of urgency, Human Rights Watch said today. The country’s total abortion ban, in effect since 1884, threatens women’s health and lives and is incompatible with its international human rights obligations.
Abortion is illegal in the Dominican Republic even when a pregnancy is life-threatening, unviable, or the result of rape or incest. A proposal being debated by Congress would decriminalize abortion in these cases.
Criminalizing abortions is “causing an increase in maternal mortality and morbidity, which places us as one of the countries with the worst health indicators," one medical professional said.
April 14, 2021
By Nicole Acevedo
A promise made on the campaign trail and not kept has now sparked a month of daily protests in the Dominican Republic, one of two dozen nations in the world with a ban on abortions under all circumstances — even when a woman's life is at risk.
Hundreds of women and reproductive-rights advocates began gathering every day outside the executive mansion of President Luis Abinader in mid-March, after Dominican lawmakers failed to decriminalize abortion when a woman's life is in danger, the pregnancy is not viable or in cases of rape or incest.
Mar 19, 2021
By Ezequiel Abiu Lopez
SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - As the abortion rights movement gains pace across Latin America, the issue is heating up in the Dominican Republic - one of the few countries in the region with a total ban on abortion - where activists were camped for an eighth day on Friday outside the president's palace.
Latin America, where the Catholic Church has held cultural and political sway for centuries, has some of the most stringent abortion laws in the world. Argentina legalized the medical procedure in December and abortion rights activists hope it will give impetus to a regional movement.
February 14, 2021
By Kate Chappell (IPS)
HAVANA TIMES – It was a joyful, tearful celebration in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2020 for countless Argentinians when they heard the news: the senate had legalized terminations up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Prior to this, activists have said that more than 3,000 women died of botched, illegal abortions since 1983. And across the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, this renewed sense of optimism was compounded after President Joe Biden rescinded what is known as the “global gag rule,” which essentially denied funding to international non-profit organizations that provided abortion counseling or referrals.
Now, women and campaigners across LAC are hopeful that these developments will spur lawmakers to consider decriminalizing abortion in their countries, sparing women their lives, economic well-being, dignity and access to a range of options to make the best choice for their reproductive and overall health.
Scores of Dominican women die each year from botched attempts to end unwanted pregnancies
Michelle Del Rey in Santo Domingo
Mon 18 Jan 2021
As Argentina becomes the first major Latin American country to fully legalize abortion, activists in the Dominican Republic fear their own government is banishing its women to the dark ages by upholding a total ban first implemented in 1884.
The Dominican Republic is one of four countries in Latin America – along with Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador – where abortion is illegal in all circumstances.
Total abortion ban fueling teenage pregnancy and unsafe terminations in Dominican Republic, report finds
'I felt like the world was falling down on me. I was going crazy, thinking I can’t have a kid,' says young woman
Maya Oppenheim, Women's Correspondent @mayaoppenheim
June 18, 2019
The total abortion ban, wholly inadequate sex education in schools and obstacles to accessing contraception are fuelling teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion in the Dominican Republic, a new report has found.
The Dominican Republic has a deeply machismo culture and is one of the few countries in the world which has a complete ban on abortion - the procedure is illegal in all cases, including when the life of the woman or girl is at risk.