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Dominican Republic Debates Ratification of Pro-Life Language in New Proposed Constitution

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman,

SANTO DOMINGO, April 17, 2009 ( – Legislators in the Dominican Republic debated past midnight yesterday over pro-life langauge that is proposed for the nation’s new constitution.

Article 30 of the document states that "The right to life is inviolable from conception until death. The death penalty cannot be established, pronounced, nor applied, in any case."

According to the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario, the article has broad support across party lines, although some representatives are disputing it, and wish to introduce language that would allow exceptions.

Attempts to delay a vote or to submit it to a committee for further study have been rejected. Debate is scheduled to begin again this Tuesday.

The nation’s ruling Dominican Liberation Party has reportedly decided to require its members to vote in favor of the provision. Leaders of most of the nation’s minority parties have said that they oppose attempts to depenalize or legalize abortion in the country.

Ramón Alburqurque, President of the Party of the Dominican Revolution (PRD), the principal opposition party, said that "the PRD is an eminently Christian party, our statutes, our internal norms, have never been divorced from what are the firmest traditions of the Dominican people."

According to representatives of the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), their people would also not vote to approve abortion nor homosexual unions in any form.

The pending decision to approve an explicitly pro-life constitution comes after years of campaigning by Santo Domingo’s Cardinal Archbishop Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, who has led marches and protests, and has given nationally televised speeches, against the legalization of abortion in the country.

Lopez denounced pro-abortion forces as "butchers" and "merchants" in his Easter Homily, given on the eve of debate over the current measure (see LifeSiteNews coverage at