By Central American
standards, Costa Rica is a paragon of human rights. The US State
Department’s human rights report for 2010 declared that there was no
arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life; no politically motivated
disappearances; and only 27 (27) complaints of police abuse. However, according
to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Costa Rica has one
damning flaw which must be fixed — or else.
Costa Rica has banned IVF.
Costa Rica is the only
country in the Western Hemisphere that outlaws IVF. The commission ruled in
April that Costa Rica must legalise the procedure immediately or face legal
consequences for alleged violations of human rights. The IACHR has given it
four extensions to pass legislation. If nothing happens, there could be
Costa Rica’s Constitutional
Court ruled in 2000 that IVF violated an unborn baby’s right to life, sparking
debate between conservative Christians and couples who were unable to conceive
a child. The ban has been supported by officials from the Vatican as well as
Costa Rica’s own bishop conference, despite sanctions and warnings from
Four years after the ban was
initially passed, the US-based Center for Reproductive Rights petitioned the
IACHR to accept a case on behalf of two couples from Tico unable to conceive.
The commission ruled in favour of the couples, writing a report in August 2010
requesting the Costa Rican government legalise the procedure. Costa Rican
legislators proposed a bill that would legalise IVF – with significant restrictions.
The bill imposes a limit to the number of embryos that can be created and
requires that all embryos are implanted. The bill was never passed.
Foreign Minister René Castro
says that the most recent extension will give Costa Rican
legislators a further two months to pass a law legalising the
controversial treatment. This is the fourth time that the IACHR has agreed to a
deadline extension. The Commission is mandated to refer the matter to the
IACHR, which is a court designed to enforce sanctions. ~ Tico Times, May
31; BioEdge, Dec 18
Costa Rica given another extension on IVF
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