San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Catholic radio station launches anti-in vitro fertilization ad campaign

Catholic radio station Radio Fides began a new campaign Tuesday against legalizing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

A station manager said ads come in anticipation of an upcoming lawsuit in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San José, about the government’s decision to ban the practice.

This is the second prominent anti-in vitro fertilization campaign by the station in the last year. Previously, Radio Fides started up an ad initiative that likened in vitro fertilization to homicide.

Due to the strong influence of the Catholic Church, Costa Rica remains the only country in the Americas that outlaws in vitro fertilization, a medical procedure in which a woman’s eggs are artificially fertilized outside of her body.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has asked repeatedly for Costa Rica to repeal its ban on IVF. Prohibiting the practice is considered a violation of human rights.

Despite threats of sanctions, so far no penalty has come. However, nine couples presented a lawsuit to the international court, and the deadline for the Costa Rican government to present its case for why it has not passed a law legalizing IVF is April 30.

Jason Granados Sánchez, director of Radio Fides (93.1 FM), told the daily La Nación these new “informative” ads take a less inflammatory approach than last year’s campaign. They are nine spots by couples who were successful with IVF and instead preferred to adopt.

The Public Security Ministry’s Propaganda Control Office demanded the advertisement comparing in vitro fertilization to murder be removed from the airwaves for being “discriminatory.” The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court struck down the ministry’s order last Friday, saying it was unconstitutional and paving the way for the church radio to continuing broadcasting them.

The previous controversial radio advertisements included spots that featured the voice of a little girl claiming that seven of her siblings died in a laboratory due to in vitro fertilization.

“Hi. I’m Sofi, the third of three brothers and sisters,” the girl said. “Though my parents love me with all of their hearts, I know that for me to enter the world, seven of my siblings died in a laboratory.”

The child’s voice was followed by a woman warning listeners about the alleged dangers of in vitro fertilization.

Costa Rica has maintained a ban on in vitro fertilization since 2000.

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