After legislative inaction, Costa Rican President Solís’ IVF pledge will be put to the test

August 28, 2015

Costa Rica’s legislature ended its latest session Thursday without any major victories for President Luis Guillermo Solís.

Nevertheless, Presidency Minister Sergio Alfaro was sanguine during a press conference with reporters despite the lack of significant movement on several controversial subjects including gay civil unions, in vitro fertilization and animal welfare reform.

The legislature’s inability to address the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling ordering Costa Rica to legalize IVF has put additional pressure on Solís to make good on his threat to regulate the fertility procedure by executive decree if the Legislative Assembly fails to pass a bill.

Solís has said previously that his administration has already drafted an executive order to regulate IVF in Costa Rica, 15 years after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court banned the practice. The human rights court ordered the Costa Rican government to attend a hearing on Sept. 3 to explain the country’s lack of progress on the issue. Costa Rica has missed several deadlines to regulate the procedure since the 2012 ruling by the San José-based rights court.

During a press conference Tuesday, Alfaro reiterated the Solís administration’s support for IVF legalization and gay rights protection in response to a question about a large march in downtown San José by social conservatives opposed to both:

The administration will not allow any new condemnations against this country in regards to this issue [IVF]. For the country, respect for international judicial organizations is absolutely essential. For a country like Costa Rica without an army, a country that dedicates a large part of its foreign policy in international law, it’s vital to respect the ruling of international judicial bodies.

Major legislative victories were largely absent from this extraordinary session, the month-long period when the executive branch sets the Assembly’s agenda, but Casa Presidencial spun it as a success. According to a statement from Casa Presidencial, 36 of its 77 bills “advanced” and five reached the plenary for debate.

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