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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Costa Rica takes final step in establishing when, how therapeutic abortions can be performed

Costa Rica on Tuesday sent the text of a technical norm that will allow for therapeutic abortions in some instances to the Social Security System (CCSS) for review.

CCSS will have three days to provide feedback, according to Casa Presidencial.

“The technical norm is not an opening for free abortion nor does it extend the law,” said Alejandra Acuña, Deputy Minister of the Health Ministry. “It is a guide for the medical professionals who treat these cases to have greater certainty and technical security to address the care of women when their life or health is in danger.”

After receiving feedback from CCSS, the Health Ministry will make final changes to the norm before it goes into effect.

Since 1971, Costa Rica’s Criminal Code has recognized the right to an abortion when it poses a danger to the pregnant woman. It requires that the woman give consent and that the procedure be carried out by a health professional.

Despite what the law stipulates, though, many doctors fear performing a therapeutic abortion because of the lack of a protocol that establishes the procedures to follow and the precise conditions in which the law is applied. The technical norm is meant to resolve that uncertainty.

Meanwhile, though, the archbishop of San José and other lawmakers have opposed the technical norm.

Costa Rica is a conservative and religious country where the Constitution consecrates Catholicism as the official state religion.

“Our goal with this technical standard is to protect the life and health of women in cases of danger during pregnancy,” Acuña said.

She added that the norm will “guarantee comprehensive care, understandable and timely information for all women in this situation.” 

Click here to read the full text of the technical norm.


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