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Last chance to approve in vitro bill is final

March 18, 2011

Costa Rica has no other option but to approve a bill seeking to legalize in-vitro fertilization in the country by May 31, according Foreign Ministry legal director Carlos Vargas.

Failure to comply with the deadline would result in a case being filed before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in San José. The Costa Rican government could be fined if found to be in violation of international law or if the rights of its citizens have been found to be violated, experts say.

Costa Rican representatives to the court would then have to negotiate the legalization process, and lawmakers would be left out.

The original deadline expired in February, but the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights issued a three-month extension for Costa Rica to enact new legislation (TT, Feb. 23). Lawmakers, who have made little progress on the bill, now have a very limited time to react.

“We would miss the opportunity to negotiate and reach agreements among lawmakers and thus, issue a truly Costa Rican regulation,” said María Eugenia Venegas, legislator for Citizens Action Party and president of the congressional commission studying the bill.

A single legislator, Carlos Avendaño, from the National Restoration Party, has filibustered any progress by presenting 132 procedural motions. Discussions on those motions could take several months.

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