President Carlos Alvarado asked this week to postpone a discussion about abortion rights, warning legislators that it will polarize the country and distract from other important issues, like the country’s fiscal situation and growing insecurity.
Alvarado broached the subject on Thursday when the evangelical National Restoration Party (PRN) presented a plan to equate abortion sentences to those for murder, which carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
Feminist and human rights organizations also requested that the government enact current legislation that permits abortion when the mother’s life is at risk.
It’s the only circumstance in Costa Rican legislation in which abortion is legal.
Alvarado is trying to pass tax reform through Congress. Approval of much-needed reforms is an achievement that has eluded that past four presidential administrations.
“I understand that my mandate is to solve Costa Rica’s biggest problems; that’s why I’m here,” Alvarado said. He cited citizen safety, infrastructure, job creation, and the fiscal deficit, which currently stands at 6.2 percent of GDP, as priorities for his government.
Alvarado also called on representatives of different sectors from around the country to work together to fix the country’s problems. He noted that his campaign pledged to enfoce existing regulations on abortion, but said there will be a better time to do it later in his presidency.