By Terry Vanderheyden

SANTO DOMINGO, July 27, 2006 ( – Dominican Republic lawmakers voted down Tuesday a proposal tabled last week to allow abortion for women pregnant because of rape.

According to a Catholic News Agency report, although it originally looked as though the proposed change to the country’s Penal Code would pass, a concerted effort by pro-life lobbyists persuaded House members to reject the clause in the final draft.

Bishop Ramon Benito, the Secretary General of the country’s Bishops’ Conference, emphasized last week that a child conceived because of rape is no more deserving of abortion than other children. “Just as there are centers of care for children, society must seek out solutions in favour of life for children who are conceived through rape, as well as quality care for mothers,” he stated.

“Abortion is not a religious issue, it’s a human rights issue,” the bishop added. “Those in favour of abortion paint the discussion as if this were a question of imposing religion.”

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