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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PIP calls for passage of medical violence protection bills

Adriana Gutiérrez Colón, Puerto Rican Independence Party secretary for women’s and gender affairs

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) secretary for women’s and gender affairs, Adriana Gutiérrez Colón, called on the island Legislature on Sunday to pass bills to protect women against medical violence.

The petition comes after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court accused a doctor of negligence, resulting in a newborn losing her life.

The United Nations (UN) in 2019 recognized obstetric violence as a gender violence problem that involves a violation of women’s rights.

The PIP has introduced several bills in the House and Senate to prevent obstetric violence:

Senate Bill 0454 and House Bill 0947 declare that the government’s public policy against obstetric violence as a matter of human rights establishes a particular civil cause of action for damages suffered as a result of obstetric violence, and decrees other complementary provisions.

Senate Bill 0225 and House Bill 0570, meanwhile, would create the “Puerto Rico Cesarean Section Statistics Information Access Act.”

“Pregnant women have the right to receive the highest level of health care, which includes the right to dignified and respectful care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the right not to suffer violence or discrimination while pregnant,” Gutiérrez Colón said.

The comparable version of the latter bills was filed in 2008 by Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago Negrón and vetoed by then-governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. Similarly, the PIP introduced a bill in 2013 that did not reach the governor’s desk because the two legislative chambers could not agree on a single version of the bill.

“The current bill, filed in 2021, was approved in the Senate and was referred to the House Health Committee. We hope the bill is finally approved so it can become law to improve the health conditions of pregnant women and childbirth,” Gutiérrez Colón noted.

Violence, mistreatment, negligence and disrespect during childbirth constitute a violation of women’s fundamental human rights, as described in international human rights norms and principles.

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