The Dominican Republic: Red-state in the making?

Contributed by: Gwen Beetham (our unofficial Caribbean correspondent)
Yesterday in the Dominican Republic, the term “sexual freedom” was deleted from a clause in a proposed Civil Code reform for fear that it “would open the doors to future homosexual unions.” Of course, it came as no surprise to me that a primarily Catholic country would cite “conservative and strong family” values as a reason for the deletion (abortion is also illegal in this country, as it everywhere in the Latin American/Caribbean region except for Puerto Rico and Cuba.)
Actually, on that topic, I would like to point out that across Latin America, an estimated 5,000 women die every year as a result of illegal abortions, and 1 in 30 Dominican women has an illegal abortion every year – one of the highest rates in the region. (The abortion rates are highest in Chile and Peru, where the rates are 1 in 20. In the United States, the rate is 21.3 per 1,000 women.)
…But back to the homophobia. What’s really puzzling to me is that the Attorney General (Rodolfo Espiñeira) also said: “I believe we still aren’t sufficiently civilized for legislation of that nature.”
In case you’re saying to yourself “surely this gringa has misinterpreted”… he actually said: “Creo que todavía no estamos tan civilizados para una legislación de esta naturaleza”. See for yourself (if you read español).
Sorry, I’ve only been living here a month. Can’t explain.

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