by Carlos Harrington/HuffingtonPost.com
A case that pro-abortion rights advocates are calling Latin America’s “Roe v. Wade” moved Wednesday to an international court, which could make a decision with a far-reaching impact on abortion and contraception laws throughout the region.
“There is no question that it will have an impact on any abortion laws,” William Saunders, senior vice president of legal affairs for U.S.-based anti-abortion organization Americans United for Life, told The Huffington Post. “I expect that if the other side wins, they’re going to be trying to go into all of these countries and change the laws on abortion.”
The case involves Costa Rica’s ban on in vitro fertilization. It arose from a March 2000 decision by Costa Rica’s highest court which held that the “human embryo is a person from the moment of conception.” In vitro fertilization, as a result, was deemed unconstitutional because it “poses a conscious threat to human life.”
In its opinion, the court wrote:
“… given the conditions under which the technique is currently practiced…any elimination or destruction of embryos – whether intentional or as a result of the practitioner’s ineptitude or the inaccuracy of the technique itself – is a violation of the right to life.”
The plaintiffs appealed their case to a higher court, and it is now being heard in the human rights branch of the Organization of American States. All 35 independent nations that comprise the Americas are members of the organization.