Protect Reproductive Rights in the Dominican Republic

For the last several weeks, the national Congress of the Dominican Republic, acting as the Parliamentary Assembly for Constitutional Review, has been reviewing a controversial bill to amend the Constitution that was submitted by the executive branch. On April 21, 2009, Article 30, which amends the current Constitution by establishing the right to life “from conception to death,” was approved under pressure and threats from the Catholic hierarchy and right-wing extremists.

In light of the significant step backwards that the approval of Article 30 would represent for women’s human rights, approximately 100 civil society organizations in the Dominican Republic, as part of the Coordinadora Nacional de Resistencia al Retroceso Constitucional, have organized a broad program of mobilizations, including a national march on Congress on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. The above picture was taken at a protest in the Dominican Republic on April 22 - you can see a set of nineteen photos here.

In addition to voicing our rejection of Article 30, the main goal of this march is to demonstrate to members of Congress our concern as citizens about the conservative bias in and the shift to the right of the debate about the constitutional bill and to ask that during the second reading, when, according to the regulations governing the assembly, Article 30 must be discussed and is once again subject to approval, they modify its language or maintain the current language of the Constitution.

In light of this serious situation we request a show of solidarity on May 6 - please write to the Dominican Republic embassy in your country to express your concern about this reverse to the human rights of women that will occur if the language of Article 30 is approved as it is now written.

See a sample letter below the jump.