By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
SANTO DOMINGO, September 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Dominican Republic has given the final approval to a constitutional amendment protecting the right to life.
“The right to life is inviolable from conception until death. In no case can the death penalty be established, pronounced, nor applied,” the amendment states.
The vote, which took place last night in a constitutional assembly created to revise the nation's charter document, was an overwhelming 128-34, despite heavy campaigning by international pro-abortion groups and rumored pressure from the United States.
Dr. Gene Antonio, a Dominican pro-life activist, told LifeSiteNews in early August that “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.”
The former human rights organization “Amnesty International,” which is now a pro-abortion lobbying group, attempted to pressure the government in the days preceding the vote, claiming that the amendment will “put women and girls at risk and potentially increase maternal deaths in the country.”
Amnesty continues to make this claim, despite the fact that statistical evidence from countries that have penalized abortion in the past which shows that maternal mortality tends to decline following such reforms. A recent LifeSiteNews exposé on Amnesty International revealed that the organization falsified statistical evidence from Nicaragua's maternal mortality rate in an apparent attempt to cover up the evidence against their position.
Officials from the ironically-named United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also reportedly pressured the government in April not to pass the amendment, without success.
Frs. Manuel Ruiz and Luis Rosario, who have spearheaded efforts by the Catholic Church to protect the value of human life on the island, said that “the country should be celebrating because what they [pro-abortion groups] were trying to implant was a culture of abortion” and rejoiced that the country chose the right to life instead of “the international disorder,” according to the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario.
“God did the miracle,” they said. “With this recognition of life, the birth certificate has been given to the right of the mother to all rights, which is the right to life from the moment of conception.”
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