By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
SANTO DOMINGO, August 5, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the Dominican Republic's National Congress approaches the final vote on the right to life in its constitution, a pro-abortion legislator is claiming he has the votes to inject rape and incest exceptions for abortion into the country's new charter document.
The president of the Chamber of Deputies Health Committee, Doctor Victor Terreno, openly declared his support for the "suspension of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger," and claimed that "every day the support increases" for permitting abortions in such cases.
The country's current penal code punishes all abortions, although medical procedures to save a woman's life that could cause an abortion are not penalized according to case law.
The Dominican Republic's national Congress gave a preliminary vote in April of this year to protect the right to life from the moment of conception in its new constitution, without exceptions. According to Dr. Jose "Gene" Antonio, a protestant pastor and homeopathic physician who has lobbied vigorously for the protection of the unborn in the country, the final vote on the issue may take place today.
He notes that although Catholic and Evangelical groups have put significant pressure on the government to protect the unborn, the Obama administration has also been exerting pressure. Antonio says that Hillary Clinton was present during the last vote on the issue, and that he believes a U.S. government commission is again present and pressuring the government, along with other internationally-financed organizations.
"The White House was here during the last vote, and we've been told that another commission of ten people is down here specifically with the intention of pressuring this government in favor of voting for child killing," Antonio told LifeSiteNews.
"The feminist fundamentalists have been working for years. They're down there all the time, every day ... the lesson here is that the Catholic and Evangelical churches need to learn is that they should have someone, or some people, who work full time, dealing with legislators, and speaking to them and educating them about these issues," he also stated.
Officials of the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) have also been pressuring the Dominican Republic's government to remove the proposed pro-life text from the constitution.
Although Antonio is optimistic that the pro-life provisions originally passed in April of this year will remain after the coming vote, he asks for prayers.
The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the USA
1715 22nd Street, NW
Washington DC 2008
The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada
Email: Eduardo J. Tejera, Ambassador: firstname.lastname@example.org
130 Albert Street,
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
Related LifeSiteNews coverage:
UNICEF Calls for Legal Abortion in Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo Cardinal Calls Abortionists "Butchers" and "Merchants" in Easter Homily
Dominican Republic Enshrines Right to Life in its Constitution
Dominican Republic Protest Against Attempt to Legalize Abortion