April 12, 2024

Costa Rica’s unique ban on IVF under threat

American pro-abortion activists have launched a campaign to force the small Central American nation of Costa Rica to reverse its ban on IVF. Costa Rica and Libya are said to be the only countries in the world where IVF is illegal. Now the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based lobby group, is supporting an appeal by several couples to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. It will argue that the ban violates couples’ right to have children and develop their own families under international human rights law.

In 2000 Costa Rica’s supreme court ruled that IVF violated the nation’s constitution, thereby overturning a 1995 presidential decree which had permitted it. The Court held that human life begins at conception and that embryos are entitled to the protection of the law. IVF places human life at too great a risk because some of the embryos will perish, it contended.

The Center for Reproductive Rights hopes that a decision in its favour will have a flow-on effect throughout Latin America. Governments and courts across North and South America could cite its ruling, as well as that of the Costa Rican Supreme Court, in developing and interpreting their countries’ laws on reproductive technologies, contraception and abortion,” it says.