Costa Rican Views On Abortion Changing

In 2003, the case of a nine year old Nicaraguan girl who became pregnant as a result of sexual abuse, captured national attention. At that time, abortions were not even considered. In the end, Rosita had an abortion in Nicaragua.

Almost a decade later, the Costa Ricans view on the issue of abortion has changed dramatically.

The Survey of Sexual and Reproductive Health in 1999 asked people whether they favored abortion in cases of rape, only 10 percent said yes, but in 2010 this rose to 40%.

But as the opinion of people change, laws sometimes take time to catchup. And perhaps the biggest barrier to decriminalize abortion in such cases is in the Constitution, and the interpretation that the judges are reading in Article 21.

Since 1993, three bills have been introduced to decriminalize abortion in cases that were justified however none were successful. Two were filed and only one survives that aims to extend the therapeutic abortion, but is at the bottom of the agenda and in danger of being forgotten.

Separated from the laws, organizations working with girls have reason to be against. Recycling Hope has 20 years helping pregnant minors, mostly of sexual abuse.

From the medical point of view, abortion does not come to heal the wounds of abuse. In the experience at the Hospital Mexico, mothers through rape are given the option of giving it up for adoption, but a decision taken at the end very different from the one announced.

For now, end the pregnancy is the only option offered the country, as happened to Rosita. For many, the irony is that in the eyes of the law a woman nine years is apt to be a mother, but not to decide whether or not to continue with her pregnancy.

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