President Luis Guillermo Solís said on Friday that he is considering the option of signing an executive decree to reinstate in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures in Costa Rica in order to avoid further sanctions from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).
Solís addressed the issue while responding to questions from reporters at a public event. The president said he does not want the country to be exposed to a new sanction by the IACHR, which in 2012 ordered Costa Rica to reinstate IVF procedures and indemnify all 21 couples who filed a lawsuit with amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 each.
He noted that ideally IVF will be approved under the provisions of a bill currently pending discussion at the Legislative Assembly. However, the bill has been tabled several times since the previous legislature and is not currently among the top items on the Assembly’s agenda.
The bill primarily aims to lift the ban imposed by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, in 2000 and also to regulate IVF implementation in both public and private health facilities.
“We are reaching a point where we will be forced to make a decision. That includes the possibility of passing IVF by an executive decree so that the country does not have to face another sanction,” Solís told reporters.
Last month the IACHR ordered representatives of the Costa Rican government to appear at a hearing regarding the country’s noncompliance with the court’s 2012 ruling. Government representatives must attend the hearing at the San José-based court at 3 p.m. on September 3.
Solís now sees the executive decree option as the fastest way to avoid possible sanctions. He did not, however, disclose any deadlines for moving forward with the signing of the proposed decree.
The Legislative Assembly is currently in the ordinary period of sessions, in which the leaders of each party negotiate the list of bills to be discussed. From August 1 to 31 the Assembly enters the extraordinary period of sessions, and the agenda then will be defined by the executive branch.
The president said on Friday that he will include the IVF bill as a priority in the legislators’ agenda and will also move forward with the drafting of the executive decree, as he promised the couples who filed the complaint with the IACHR.
A group of them met with Solís in May and asked him to pass the IVF regulations via executive decree. At that time the president promised he would reinstate IVF procedures within six months.
Costa Rica is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that bans IVF.
Read more of our coverage of Costa Rica’s ongoing IVF struggle.