December 27, 2010
Laura Chinchilla

Laura Chinchilla

Costa Rica is under pressure to overturn its ban on in vitro fertilization — and as a result abandon long-held Catholic teaching — or risk sanctions for violating international accords on human rights.

The threat of sanctions has led Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to pursue legislation that will make the reproductive procedure legal even at the risk of offending the Catholic Church.

The dilemma arose in August when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asked Costa Rica to reverse the IVF ban so that it would comply with international accords to which it is a signatory such as the American Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Cairo Program of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development.

One of only a handful of nations that professes Catholicism as its official religion, Costa Rica has an accord with the Catholic Church that “expressly recognizes the value of human life from conception.”

Legislative debate on the bill was expected to begin in mid-December.