.- In the wake of massive protests called for by Archbishop Dimas Cedeño of Panama City, the Panamanian government has discontinued an effort to legalize abortion.
Representative Wiberto Quintero, a member of the government commission that was considering the change, told reporters the laws related to abortion in the current penal code would remain on the books and that no reforms to legalize abortion would be introduced.
Panama’s National Assembly is currently reviewing modifications of the country’s penal code, with the legalization of abortion being one of the most controversial proposals.
Quintero said the members of the commission made the decision to maintain the current law after “listening to the people” and after meeting with leaders of the Catholic Church and of other organizations.
On Monday large numbers of Panamanians protested outside the National Assembly demanding the elimination of all exceptions to the criminalization of abortion in the country.
Pro-life groups in Panama also criticized the statements by an Argentinean advisor to the commission, Luis Shisisola of the United Nations Program for Development, who told the commission on January 31, “Social values change with the times,” and, “There are no absolute values.”