By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SANTO DOMINGO, October 26, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Thousands of pro-life protesters took to the streets and descended upon the National Congress of the Dominican Republic yesterday to announce their emphatic opposition to efforts to decriminalize abortion in the island nation.
Local media reported that due to the number of protesters traffic was halted on several streets and thoroughfares. One group, spearheaded by organizer Fr. Luis Rosario, peacefully entered the National Congress, where they delivered a message stating that “the decriminalization of abortion is not a sign of progress, development, or modernity, but rather a retreat for humanity and a prostitution of moral values.” Abortion, he added in his statement to the press, “is a crime in whatever way they want to disguise it”.
Fr. Rosario was received by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Julio Cesar Valentín, and by Senate vice president Cristina Lizardo. Both of them stated that they were “in favor of life.”
Of the thousands of protesters, several hundred surrounded the Parliament building in a symbolic “hug” to show their rejection of abortion. They held signs with slogans such as “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”, and “Mother, let me be born so I can be a representative”, and sang the song “Let Him Live” by Manuel Tejada. The demonstrators represented a number of religious groups and organizations, including catholics and protestant organizations and schools.
The protest is one of several events scheduled by pro-life groups and spearheaded by the Catholic Church during the month of October (see recent LifeSiteNews coverage at Although police were absent during the event, the demonstrations were conducted in a completely peaceful manner, and no acts of violence were reported.
In addition to the demonstrations, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez gave a national address on radio at 5 pm, which was also broadcast on television at 9 pm, denouncing those who were promoting the decriminalization of abortion. “We want to announce to the Dominican people that we are prepared to defend life in any place or circumstance, however we might be commanded by God, who is the author of life and the Church,” he said, and called abortion a crime that should be rejected by all of those who love God.
“Cardinal Nicholas Jesus Rodriguez has truly risen to the occasion,” pro-life activist Gene Antonio Ramirez told LifeSiteNews. “He is just a hero. It’s just overwhelming joy to have a cardinal with his kind of guts, and his no nonsense in-your-face attitude toward these feminists and abortionists…and the head of the evangelical church, the Rev. Franklin Aquino, has also made a brilliant stand on this issue, and is doing his utmost to unite all evangelical and pentecostal churches on this issue, with no exceptions.”
Ramirez told LifeSiteNews that the outpouring of pro-life sentiment in the nation was overwhelming, and that even the more liberal newspapers on the island seemed to be changing their view of abortion.
News publications showed Ramirez’s eight year old child in front page photos, holding a sign saying “Abortion is Herodism” (referring to King Herod, who murdered the children of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus as an infant), and even published the internet address where the pro-life video “The Hard Truth” could be seen in Spanish. According to Ramirez, The Hard Truth has been shown to many congressmen as well, and has altered their views on abortion.
During the protests, the President of the Senate and other government officials were in Rome, meeting with Pope Benedict, and received his blessing on behalf of the Dominican people.
The Dominican Republic is one of several nations in Latin America that backs up its constitutional protection of human life (which appears in almost every Latin American constitution) with criminal penalties for all abortions, although indirect abortions caused by life-saving medical procedures are not prosecuted. The increasingly intense movement to protect the existing law was provoked by a recent proposal to decriminalize “therapeutic abortions” (a broad term allowing potentially any kind of abortion) in the Dominican Republic, as part of the ongoing overhaul of the nation’s penal code.
The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the USA
1715 22nd Street, NW
Washington DC 2008
Extension 2517: Ambassador Flavio Darío Espinal
Extension 2503: First Secretary (Political Section) Mr. Edgar Aponte
The Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada
130 Albert Street,
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4
Email: Eduardo J. Tejera, Ambassador:
Other embassy locations:
Related Lifesitenews.com Links:
Cardinal to Deliver Nationwide Pro-Life Address in Dominican Republic
Mexican “Priest” Wages Campaign to Legalize Abortion in Dominican Republic
Catholics in Dominican Republic Plan Offensive Against Abortion
Cardinal Denounces Proposal to Legalize Abortion in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Protest Against Attempt to Legalize Abortion