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Editor's Note: See LifeSiteNews' previous reports on President Danilo Medina's attempt to weaken the Dominican Republic's pro-life laws: “Dominican pro-lifers urge lawmakers to override president's veto of tightened abortion law“; “'Don't let pro-aborts turn us into a slaughterhouse': Dominican pro-lifers beg aid as president hopes to ease abortion law“; “Dominican Republic president urges Parliament to legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest.”

As the heated debate in the Dominican Republic over abortion nears its climactic act on Tuesday, a key link between the Catholic Church and President Danilo Medina has resigned, accusing the latter of using abortion as a means to get re-elected.

Until last week, Father Manuel Ruiz de la Rosa was the official liaison between the Catholic Church and President Medina, whom it supported in his 2012 election bid. But Medina caught the Church completely by surprise when he vetoed a major reform of the country’s Penal Code at the beginning of December, recommending exceptions to the general ban on abortion in cases when a woman’s life is at risk, or of rape, incest and major deformities. The country’s constitution recognizes that human life begins at conception, and the revised Penal Code makes penalties for doing or aiding abortions tougher. The country’s Congress will vote to accept or reject Medina’s recommendations or “observations,” on Tuesday.

Catholics and Evangelical Protestants have rallied in the hundreds in front of Congress in Santo Domingo, praying in large groups and visiting individual lawmakers for one-on-one meetings.

Father de la Rosa complained in his resignation letter that Medina had kept him—and  the Catholic Church—completely in the dark about the veto, and was using abortion to arrange his own re-election in 2016, which is currently unconstitutional.

“We’ve fallen naively into a trap,” de la Rosa wrote. “One would think that the problem here is abortion, [but] that's a discussion and debate outweighed by the Constitution.”  The website DR1 explained de la Rosa’s thinking this way: “In order to approve the changes in the Penal Code, the Constitution rulings on abortion need to be modified first, which could open up the debate on other constitutional issues.” The priest believes Medina is interested in one constitutional issue in particular: the ban on a president holding office for two consecutive terms. 

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“All this is some else’s fight, “ wrote Fr. de la Rosa. “A battle between Danilo Medina and [former president] Leonel Fernández, trying to repeat their battle in their party’s Central Committee… What really is at play is the re-election.”

Fernandez had to step down in 2012 but now is expected to succeed Medina as their party’s candidate in 2016. In de la Rosa’s scenario, Medina wants to succeed himself, but needs a constitutional change to do it.

Father de la Rosa also charged Medina with trying to portray the Catholic and Evangelical Protestant churches as basing their aversion to abortion on dogma, whereas the real issue is one of human rights.

Medina has lined up a priest on his side too—and several “powerful women,” as the web news source DominicanToday put it. The women are well-known lawyer Laura Acosta and journalist Patricia Solano. Acosta called Medina’s veto “a responsible action which has allowed women to be considered first-class citizens.” Solano said the president  “has given women in the Dominican Republic a vote of confidence: That only we have the ability to decide, no one can decide for us.”

The priest is Father Ramon Alfredo de la Cruz Baldera, the new head of the Mother and Teacher Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago. He is quoted in a DR1 story saying the Christian church leaders had responded to the president’s recommended changes with “a great deal of fundamentalism” and urged the members of Congress to base their Tuesday vote not on that but on science, faith, and reason.

Pro-life leader Eugenio Castillo of Dominicans for Life has told LifeSiteNews that Medina’s exceptions are just a foot-in-the-door. “All a woman would have to do is say she’s been raped or that incest is involved. All a doctor who wants to do the abortion would have to say is that the fetus is malformed.”

Pro-abortion organizations such as Amnesty International are known to be lobbying President Medina in support. Castillo has called for Christian organizations and individuals around the world to do likewise: contact Dominican politicians and urge them to stand up to President Medina.

The following translation is of excerpts from the national widest read newspaper, Listin Diario, 15 Dec 2015, page 5a.

Padre Manuel Antonio Ruiz resignation letter to the President

Given the imperative that every human person has rights independently of how they were conceived, whether they came into the world desired or not, or with a malformation, ask yourself if those with legs and eyes etc., have more human rights than the blind, paralyzed, autistic children, those with Down's 
Syndrome etc.?

As a grand strategy, cold, calculated, it is possible that you have chose the path of political expedience over the life of babies in the womb, in the face- of opposition from the catholic and evangelical churches. President, you ought to consider, (capitals in original text) what is the cost, OF DOING WHAT HAS NEVE BEEN DONE, MEDDLING WITH (ENDANGERING THE LIVES) THE SPECIAL CHILDREN OF GOD THE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO HAVE A MALFORMATION, THE CHILDREN BELOVED AND DEAR TO GOD WHO CANNOT DEFEND THEMSELVES?

I publicly ask pardon to the Cardinal, and countless priests for whom I was able to forge an image of a president that I believed I knew, but I was wrong.

May God have mercy on us.

Contacts:

President of the Chamber of Deputies
Abel Martínez Durán
Congreso Nacional Centro de los Héroes
1er Piso          
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Fax: 011 1809 535 4554
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AbelMartinezD_
Salutation: Señor Presidente de la Cámara de los diputados/ Dear President of the Chamber of Deputies

President of the Senate
Cristina Altagracia Lizardo
Congreso Nacional, Av. Enrique Jiménez Moya, Esq. Juan de Dios Ventura Simo
Centro de los Héroes de Constanza
Maimón y Estero Hondo (La Feria)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Fax: 011 1809 532 5468
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @cristinalizardo
Salutation: Señora Presidenta del Senado/ Dear President of the Senate

Ambassador Aníbal De Castro, Embassy of the Dominican Republic
1715 22nd St. NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202 265 8057
Phone: 202 332 6280
Email: [email protected]

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