Costa Rica News – In Costa Rica, women have had the right to abortion since 1970. Well, more or less.
JUAN CARLOS ULATE/REUTERS
The concept of the “unpunished abortion”, established in article 121 of the penal code, permits the termination of a pregnancy as long the procedure is consensual, performed by a doctor (or, if necessary, by an authorised obstetrician), and is the only way to protect the life or health of the woman.
This is commonly called a “therapeutic abortion”. And while it may be technically permissible, in practice the public hospitals where most Costa Ricans receive care refuse to offer the procedure except when a woman’s life is in imminent danger. As in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, for instance.
For many women whose pregnancies