Abortion Rights Takes Groups to the Streets

Peaceful Assembly

On 27th November 2018, thousands of citizens participated in the demonstrationUn Paso por mi Familia" (One Step for My Family) organised by the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo to reject proposals to decriminalise abortion. For years, legislators have debated reforms to the criminal code which would decriminalise abortion in three circumstances: when the life of the woman or girl is in danger, when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or when the foetus has serious complications incompatible with life outside of the womb. However, Congress had not passed any changes to the country’s criminal code yet. 

The debate over the decriminalisation of abortion has also taken women to the streets. As reported previously by the CIVICUS Monitor,  the Coalition for the Rights and Life of Women, comprised of more than 100 different organisations recently demanded "the immediate guarantee of health, life, dignity and integrity of women through the decriminalisation of abortion in extreme circumstances".

In November 2018, Human Rights Watch published the report “‘It’s Your Decision, It’s Your Life’: The Total Criminalization of Abortion in the Dominican Republic.” The report explained how the country's total ban on abortion "threatens women's health and lives". 

Expression

On 19th November 2018, journalist Marino Zapete started his program El Jarabe, denouncing that his life was in danger and that a group  wanted to kill him.

“My life is in danger; they want to kill me. I do not know if this is my last program” Zapete said, according to reports

The journalist accused the ultranationalist group Antigua Orden Dominicana of the alleged plot and affirmed that the group had threatened him by saying he was a traitor to the country. He attributed this wave of aggression to his conversations with Movimiento Marcha Verde (Green March Movement). The group vowed to “confront” the movement and “pro-Haitian” sectors.

As covered by the Monitor, Movimiento Marcha Verde continues to mobilise people in various parts of the country over issues of corruption and disatisfaction with the current government. Since 6th November 2017, numerous protests have taken place under the umbrella of the Movement and in response to impunity and corruption, in particular in regards to the Odebrecht scandal that has rocked the current government over accusations of misconduct and corrupt practices.