Incest Case Attests That, in Costa Rica, Abortion Is Legal In Name Only

‘My body does not need your opinion’. Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters
Q COSTA RICA (by Larissa Arroyo Navarrete, University of Costa Rica) In Costa Rica, women have had the right to abortion since 1970. Well, more or less.
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.

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