Controversial Costa Rican ads liken IVF to homicide
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica, July 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Church in the Central American country of Costa Rica has launched a radio ad campaign that compares in vitro fertilization to homicide.
The ads are broadcast by church-owned Radio Fides.
The first ad features a young girl’s voice saying that seven of her siblings died in a laboratory due to in vitro fertilization.
“Hi. I’m Sofi, the third of three brothers and sisters,” the girl says. “Though my parents love me with all of their hearts, I know that for me to enter the world, seven of my siblings died in a laboratory.”
This is followed by a woman explaining the implications and dangers of IVF.
A second ad broadcast by Radio Fides presents another young girl’s voice saying, “I was born. Why not my brothers and sisters?”
José Antonio Pastor, the director of the Public Security Ministry’s Propaganda Control Office, has responded by ordering Radio Fides to stop broadcasting the ads.
“For a small girl in an advertisement to say that her siblings were killed in a laboratory is discriminatory against people who actually were born from the use of in vitro fertilization,” said Pastor, according to a report by the San José Tico Times.
However, the Bishop of Cartago, José Francisco Ulloa, defended the ad campaign, saying, “The advertisements don’t accuse; they tell the truth. We are all disappointed that so many children have died. We are looking for people who understand that there are deaths in this process, and that dead embryos have the right to live.”
Costa Rica is the only country in the Western hemisphere that bans in vitro fertilization. The country’s Constitutional Court put the ban in place in 2000, when it ruled that the practice was unconstitutional because it violated the right to life of the embryo. IVF had been authorized by executive decree under strict conditions in 1995.
The Constitutional Court stated, “The human embryo is a person from the moment of conception ... not an object ... not to be frozen ... not constitutionally legitimate to be exposed to a disproportionate risk of death.”
Despite intense foreign pressure, Costa Rica again affirmed the ban on IVF in June when a measure, proposed by President Laura Chinchilla, was narrowly defeated in the House of Representatives in a 26 to 25 vote, with more than half of the members breaking ranks to oppose it.
Chinchilla proposed the measure after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the country earlier this year to repeal the ban by July 31st, because it views the ban as a violation of human rights. Though the Commission’s decisions are not binding on states, the Commission could take the country before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Jeison Granados, director of Radio Fides, told the media he intends to file a lawsuit requesting an injunction against the Propaganda Control Office’s order to remove the ads from the airwaves, saying the government order violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.