The pro-statehood party of Puerto Rico, the New Progressive Party (PNP), seems to be operating from a position of convenience. When it demands the fact that Puerto Rico should become the 51st state of the Union, it rallies behind American flags and the US Constitution. But when it disagrees with US law in order to please their own conservative and predominantly Catholic base, in the end the PNP will do whatever it wants, even to the point of rejecting federal laws that they will so quickly defend.
The latest version of this Puerto Rican paradox is the issue of abortion. Last week, the Puerto Rican Senate approved a penal code that would prohibit abortions on the island. Yes, you read that right. If a woman in Puerto Rico has an abortion that does not harm her health or life, she should go to jail.
Here is the report from The Catholic News Agency:
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 26, 2011 / 06:10 pm (CNA).- The Puerto Rico Senate passed a new penal code on Oct. 24 that keeps in place the territory’s prohibition against abortion.
The code will now be sent to the House of Representatives for debate.
Article 99 of the penal code stipulates that “any woman who procures and consumes any medicine, drug or substance, or who undergoes any operation, surgery or any other procedure for the purpose of causing an abortion, except in order to save her health or her life, shall be punished with a fixed prison sentence of two years.”
Abortion supporters argue the new code would be unconstitutional because it would violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973) and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court’s ruling in Pueblo v. Duarte (1980), which legalized abortion.
If passed by the House, the code would be sent to Governor Luis Fortuño to be signed into law.