Panamanian Legislation on Sterilization Is Assailed

PANAMA CITY, Panama, OCT. 20, 2002 ( Panama’s bishops are opposing legislation that would govern the sterilization of women.

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A document, signed by the episcopal conference’s Permanent Committee, says the legislation discriminates against women and the poor and constitutes an attack on human dignity.

“It is easier to eliminate mouths than to distribute food,” says the bishops’ document, “and easier to blame others than to assume one’s own responsibilities.”

“We already know that civilization and ethics do not always go hand in hand and, many times, the scientific spirit or modernism [is] invoked to violate or ignore ethical norms,” the statement explains. “It is not surprising, then, that in the draft law that concerns us, woman’s sterilization-liberation is contrasted with feudalism.”

“Not everything that is scientifically possible is ethically valid,” the bishops say. “If this is not so, let them ask the victims of Hiroshima or of the Twin Towers.”

“As often as there has been a desire to build a social system on ethically invalid bases, sooner or later, the system collapses,” they conclude. “Therefore, nothing that commits an outrage against the dignity or integrity of the person or human life can be synonymous with civilization.”

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