Abortion in Panama
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A penal code was set in place on September 22, 1982 which penalized illegal abortions. This code is still active today.
In 2005, a poll was conducted with a simple questionnaire. One of the questions asked, "Do you agree or disagree with abortion?" 89.4% of those that answered were against abortions. According the CIA, based upon the population as a whole, 85% of Panamanians are against abortion. Approximately four-fifths of Panama's population practices Roman Catholicism, which has as its official stance that abortion is murder.
In Panama, abortion is illegal with the exception of two circumstances: if the mother's life is endangered by the pregnancy, or if she is the victim of rape or incest.
Penalties for abortion
The punishment for a woman who has an illegal abortion is one to three years in prison. The punishment for a doctor or other person who performs the procedure with the woman's consent is 3 to 6 years in prison. If the procedure is done without the woman's consent, the punishment is 5 to 10 years in prison. If the woman dies as a result of the abortion, the punishment for the abortionist is 5–10 years in prison. If the woman's husband is found guilty of performing the abortion, the penalties are increased by one sixth.
Access to abortion facilities
The only abortions allowed to be performed are done by doctors in government-run hospitals.
Alternatives to abortion
Condoms, tubal ligation, and some intrauterine devices (IUDs) are available at no cost to a woman. Other forms of contraception that require a fee, such as other IUDs and chemical drugs (like the Depo shot), are available, but the woman does not need to get a prescription to obtain them.
In 1965, the Asociación Panameña para el Planeamiento de la Familia, or APLAFA, was founded to help women control the size of their families. A private family planning group, APLAFA has gone to great lengths not just to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy, but also to aid pregnant women with pre- and post-natal care for their unwanted pregnancies. The Panamanian government has also played a constructive role in the family planning movement. It offers services which teach couples about natural birth control methods (such as the ovulation method, the symptothermal method, and the rhythm method ), as well as modern methods, which many know as "the pill", shots, patches, sterilization, and others.
- "Abortion Policy". United Nations Population Division. Retrieved 2010-04-09.