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Costa Rica’s Supreme Court throws out constitutional challenges to IVF decree

October 16, 2015

In the latest curve of Costa Rica’s roller coaster process to legalize in vitro fertilization, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court has thrown out several challenges to President Luis Guillermo Solís’ decree regulating the fertility procedure here. But before supporters can celebrate the news the president’s decree still must overcome another challenge filed this week.

The Constitutional Chamber, known as the Sala IV, threw out four legal and constitutional challenges, according to a statement from the judicial body Friday afternoon. The decision came one day after the Solís administration appeared before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to present an update on its progress to legalize the procedure.

Costa Rica banned IVF in 2000. Solís signed a decree on Sept. 10 legalizing IVF in Costa Rica after years of court battles and inaction from a lethargic legislature. The president said Costa Rica could not risk possible sanctions from the regional human rights court when he signed the order. Advocates celebrated the act but religious conservatives vowed to fight the executive order.

Casa Presidencial counsel Marvin Carvajal welcomed the news but downplayed its importance in the face of another constitutional challenge that was filed this week against the decree. “This is not a substantial change,” Carvajal said in a statement released by Casa Presidencial.

The latest challenge argued that the decree violated the principle of separation of powers when the executive branch took steps to regulate the procedure before the legislature voted on its long-delayed bill, among other issues. Until this latest challenge is resolved, the decree published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta on Sept. 11 remains suspended.

Carvajal said that Casa Presidencial would present its case to the Sala IV on Nov. 3.

“We believe with great conviction that this decree complies with the order of the IACHR to guarantee the fundamental rights of Costa Ricans,” Carvajal said. “We hope the decree will pass the constitutional test.”

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