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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Threatens IACHR Departure on Abortion

Costa Rica Threatens IACHR Departure on Abortion

In a recent interview, President Rodrigo Chaves of Costa Rica acknowledged the possibility of withdrawing the country from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court) if the court mandates changes to national legislation on abortion.

The discussion arose in connection with the ongoing analysis of the “Beatriz case” against El Salvador by the IACHR Court.

The president was presented with a hypothetical scenario by a journalist, suggesting that the Constitutional Chamber might be awaiting the resolution of the Beatriz case to address various appeals against the technical norm of therapeutic abortion. The interviewer also pointed out the existence of “abortionist groups” who believe that the IACHR Court’s decision could lead to the legalization of abortion.

When asked about his response to a potential resolution from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, President Chaves, with a smile, expressed that the scenario “makes him think.”

He further stated that if the IACHR Court issues an order related to abortion, Costa Rica would have no choice but to withdraw from the treaty.

On November 29, President Chaves emphasized his belief that a civilized society must protect its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, children, and the unborn. He maintained that the termination of pregnancy should only be considered when the life or health of the mother is at risk.

Chaves asserted, “A civilized society protects the lives of the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly and, above all, unborn children. The only exception is when the mother’s life is at risk.” He criticized those who might exploit the guiding principle, using World Health Organization (WHO) definitions that include economic, social, and emotional factors to argue for the termination of pregnancies.

This year, the United Nations (UN) urged Costa Rica to decriminalize abortion, with UN special rapporteur Tlaleng Mofokeng stating that existing legal restrictions were inconsistent with international human rights standards and clinical protocols.

In addition, the expert stressed that legal restrictions on abortion are discriminatory and limit personal autonomy, interfering in the doctor-patient relationship and restricting access to health services and information. In her opinion, this situation represents a form of gender discrimination.

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