Pro-life bill in Puerto Rico seeks to prohibit abortion after 22 weeks

Pregnant_Credit_Syda_Productions_Shutterstock_CNA.jpg Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.

Talís Romero, a pro-life leader in Puerto Rico, has launched a campaign in support of a bill on the island which seeks to limit abortion to the first 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Romero’s campaign, “Rescuing Identity,” along with the organization  “Pro-life Puerto Rico”, is urging pro-lifers and the general public to send an e-mail to [email protected] in support of Bill 693, "Law for the protection of the conceived child in its gestational stage of viability.”

“As pro-lifers we recognize that life begins from conception, so we know that this bill is not ideal. However, it’s the first step towards the regulation of abortion on the island, and that means a lot,” Romero explained.

The principal author of the bill is Senator Joanne Rodríguez Veve, chairwoman of the Committee on Life and Family Affairs of the Puerto Rican Senate.

Article 2 of the bill states that “the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico declares that a licensed medical professional will not terminate a pregnancy where the conceived child is in the gestational stage of viability, as defined in this law.”

Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in 1973 is in force. Abortion is legal on the island throughout pregnancy.

Romero said that they are asking for help to promote the bill because different abortion organizations "around the world have sent emails," about 1,000 in total, which could "have a lot of weight" in the debate.

“In Puerto Rico we are risking everything and we need all possible help,” the pro-life leader stressed.

Rodríguez told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, that the bill, which was introduced at the end of 2021, "is in what are called public hearings, and the last day of this will be Friday, May 6."

After the public hearings, the commission that she chairs will prepare a report containing the pro and con opinions that came in. Then the bill is voted on in committee and if it is approved, "the bill goes to the Senate chamber, the full session of the Senate, and there it will be passed or defeated."

If it is passed, the bill would go to the House of Representatives, where a process similar to that of the Senate would be followed. If it is finally approved, it would then go to the governor of Puerto Rico for his signature, and he “can veto or approve it,” the senator explained.

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