• The San Juan Daily Star

Senators file bill to prohibit late-term abortions

Sen. Joanne Rodríguez Veve

By John McPhaul

Seven senators from the Popular Democratic Party, New Progressive Party and Dignity Project will introduce a bill to protect the lives of babies who are in advanced stages of pregnancy, the senators said Wednesday.

“In Puerto Rico, abortions are performed in late stages of pregnancy, when the conceived could survive outside the mother’s womb,” Sen. Joanne Sen. Rodríguez Veve said in a written statement. “During the public hearings of SB 591, the abortion gynecologist who deposed confirmed that she performs in her clinic around five abortions per month of unborn babies who are in the 23rd and 24th weeks of gestation, that is, during the sixth month of pregnancy. In these advanced stages of pregnancy, the abortion procedure is generally performed through inhumane methods that involve lethal injections for the fetus, dismemberment and fatal burns.”

The authors of the measure are the senators: Joanne Rodríguez Veve, Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago, Thomas Rivera Schatz, Rubén Soto Rivera, Keren Riquelme, Ramón Ruiz Nieves and Albert Torres Berríos.

Rodríguez Veve, of the Dignity Project, stated that in recognition of the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court, they consider it meritorious to regulate the parameters aimed at preserving the life of the woman and that of the unborn child. The bill to be filed provides that in Puerto Rico the termination of a pregnancy will not be carried out when the unborn baby is in the gestational stage of viability; that is, when she or he could already survive outside the mother’s womb.

Rodríguez Veve noted that in the seminal case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court held that, from the viability of the conceived, the state can act in pursuit of the interest of preserving the “potentiality of human life,” regulating and even prohibiting, the termination of a pregnancy in late gestational stages, except when such practice is necessary, according to the most appropriate medical determination for the preservation of the mother’s life.

“As a public policy of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, we believe it necessary and important to guarantee that in any process of termination of pregnancy that takes place in Puerto Rico in a gestational stage of viability, the best practices of medicine are used to preserve the life of the woman and the one conceived,” Dalmau Santiago said.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of the prohibition of late-term abortions in Mississippi.

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