The Chamber agrees with the amendments introduced to the Civil Code



Over and above the warnings of certain interest groups that have questioned its content or flaws in the legislative evaluation process, the House of Representatives concurred today, Thursday, with the amendments introduced to the Civil Code, which means that at any time the project would be sent to Governor Wanda Vázquez for her signature.

As recently as last night, Vázquez posted on his Twitter account that he will evaluate the piece of legislation carefully. He alleged that during the evaluation in the Senate, which approved the bill, language suggested by La Fortaleza was included “to guarantee the permanence of the rights already achieved,” referring to women’s rights and related to birth certificates.

Organizations such as the Bar Association, the Broad Committee for the Search for Equity (CABE), Matria and Puerto Rico To [email protected] they raised different arguments so that the House did not concur with the changes of the Senate. For example This version of the Code was not brought to public view and that its final version has not been made public in a readable manner.

The speaker of the majority in the House, Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló, presented the measure in the chamber shortly after noon with the intention that the legislative body concur while legislators such as the popular Luis Vega Ramos demanded that the measure be brought up for discussion. Rodríguez Aguiló told him that the gatherings are not debated. The representative for the Victoria Citizen Movement, Manuel Natal, then requested that a motion be put to the vote for the measure to be debated, but was defeated with 13 votes.

In an aside with the press, Vega Ramos insisted on the need for the measure to be debated, which was certified as received in the Chamber at 12:04 p.m. to be approved six minutes later, without the country having access to a clean document with all the amendments introduced by the Senate and at times when the country cannot demonstrate massively due to COVID-19.

“This is great irresponsibility. This Code is extremely ambiguous with the amendments that were introduced in the Senate as surrogacy, which I think leaves it without effect”Vega Ramos said when referring to the authorization of this practice, subject to other articles in the Code that were not included. “As the articles that authorize it are not, it is unauthorized,” he added, recalling that the Civil Code prohibits hiring or remuneration in these cases.

He also criticized the interpretation of the articles referring to the rights granted to the conceived, but not born, and to the article on gender change in birth certificates, in the hands of the courts.

“It lays down additional and onerous procedural requirements that would allow a government that does not believe in equity to try to hinder an already recognized right through the procedural route,” he said.

Vega Ramos argued that the governor should veto the measure. “He said that if there were no setbacks in fundamental rights, he would sign it and that if there were, no … this Civil Code puts at risk conquests of civil and human rights that are extremely important for women, the LBGTTIQ community, reproductive rights, the intimacy of human beings and for people in contractual relationships with other people. “

For his part, The independentista spokesman Denis Márquez, believed that a “legislative irresponsibility” was materialized when a measure was approved that did not go to public hearings. The bill that did go through said process was the original bill, but the version approved today is a substitute bill to which changes were added in the House and later in the Senate.

“It is a sovereign irresponsibility and a crime against society that you approve the most important legislation on human relations in all areas in this way,” said Márquez. “I am predicting problems in the courts because to the extent that you approve a Civil Code that you have to give so many explanations for some articles, it means that the letter of the law is not clear and this will end in conflicts in the courts. And they continue doing confusing things not to recognize rights of the society of the 21st century “.

Asked what the governor should do with the project, Márquez clarified that the discussion on the Civil Code should be resumed for the next four years, but that this project should be vetoed. “There is a demand from the country that it was not approved and that it was not done in this way, but the conservative vision and some sectors of the country prevailed.”

Natal, for her part, criticized the approval of the project in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This affects all of our lives, and the Senate spent nearly a year sitting on top of the bill and did absolutely nothing. There was no reason to wait for the situation Puerto Rico is going through to pass this measure,” he said. “The project has many errors due to the haste with which the Senate legislated and it will be litigated in many areas, especially regarding the rights of the communities against which this administration has discriminated.”

Natal, like Vega Ramos, maintained that the doors to surrogate motherhood have not been opened since, although it was included as an exception to the prohibition on the private contracting of the body, “it was said that it would be defined in other articles and not they made”he indicated.

Regarding equal marriage, he warned that the use of the word “people”, without a clearer definition, could give way to positions previously adopted by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, such as when it left out the members of the LBGTTIQ community or people that they maintain an extramarital relationship of the application of the protections of the Law of Domestic Violence.

“There are countless objections to content that were reason enough to stop the process,” he said.

Among other things, the proposed Civil Code recognizes certain rights to the conceived, but not born, and advocates of women’s reproductive rights have indicated that their language could violate the jurisprudential right to abortion in the future.

During the Senate session on Monday, a language was added to the article on the rights of the unborn and it reads: “The rights that are recognized to the nasciturus are subject to the fact that he is born alive and in no way undermine the constitutional rights of the pregnant woman to make decisions about her pregnancy ”.

However, in the positive report of the measure in the Chamber, it says the following: “That is why several articles of the new Code consider every human being, from the very moment of fertilization, as a person, with all the fundamental rights that distinguishes “.

During the Senate session on Monday, a language was added to the article on the rights of the unborn and it reads: “The rights that are recognized to the nasciturus are subject to the fact that he is born alive and in no way undermine the constitutional rights of the pregnant woman to make decisions about her pregnancy ”.

However, in the positive report of the measure in the Chamber, it says the following: “That is why several articles of the new Code consider every human being, from the very moment of fertilization, as a person, with all the fundamental rights that distinguishes “.

The Senate and House agreed to maintain the language that states that the original birth certificate will not authorize amendments on the birth sex of a person, but that the court may authorize the registrar to make a notation outside the original registration. of sex. This language, according to critics, clashes with federal jurisprudence.

On Monday, however, a text was included that reads: “nothing here instituted undermines the process established in the cases of an application to reflect a gender change in the birth certificate.” It is indicated that these applications will be accompanied by a passport, driver’s license or a certification issued by a health professional who has a patient-medical relationship with the applicant. “In these cases, the registry must issue the certification, safeguarding the rights to privacy.”

The president of the Civil Law Commission of the Bar Association, José Javier Lamas, and the president of the Victoria Citizen Movement, Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, have warned about the danger of including language that appears to be contradictory in the Civil Code .

The Civil Code will go to La Fortaleza maintaining the prohibition of reproductive cloning, but the prohibition to what is known as “eugenic practices directed at the selection of genes, sex, or physical or racial characteristics of human beings”, was removed. the camera.

Regarding the issue of surrogacy, the provision is maintained that the body cannot be the object of “private contracting”, but it is clarified that the donation of organs, cells, tissues, gametes, embryos and surrogacy will be seen as exceptions. , unless a law provides otherwise. Yes, it prohibits financial remuneration for the donation of blood, organs or plasma.

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