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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Dignity Project not for criminalizing abortion, party president says

Dignity Project President César Vázquez Muñiz

By The Star Staff

César Vázquez Muñiz, president of the political party Proyecto Dignidad (Dignity Project), says his party does not believe in criminalizing women who have an abortion.

“On the contrary, we believe in helping women who have gone through or are considering having an abortion while firmly defending the right of the unborn child,” Vázquez Muñiz said.

His remarks came over the weekend after the presentation and subsequent withdrawal of a bill filed by Dignity Project Rep. Lissie Burgos Muñiz.

The bill would have imposed a sentence of 99 years in prison on a woman convicted of having an abortion.

The measure also imposed a sentence of three to eight years on women who try to end their pregnancy through the use of a drug or substance.

It also came after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the 1973 high court ruling that established that women had a constitutional right to an abortion and allowing the states to regulate the conditions and the process for women to have abortions. Texas has already established a ban on abortions.

The island Senate approved a bill last week that restricts the right to abortion after 22 weeks of gestation, a measure that has sparked great controversy and rejection by many in Puerto Rico.

The legislative proposal requires the Department of Health to maintain a registry of pregnancy terminations and, among the latest amendments, eliminates the prohibition of abortion for women who are victims of rape.

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández has said the current rule of law in Puerto Rico was not disrupted by the determination of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“As we have stated, Article 98 of the 2012 Penal Code allows abortion with therapeutic indication performed by a physician duly authorized to practice medicine in Puerto Rico, with a view to preserving the health or life of the mother,” he said. “In turn, in the case Pueblo v. Duarte Mendoza, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico interpreted that any abortion prescribed by a doctor aimed at preserving the physical or mental health or the life of the pregnant woman is exempt from criminal liability.”

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