Legislators Ban Emergency Contraception in Honduras


Latin
America is divided. The
reason: The
emergency contraception pill (EC).

In
2008, the Constitutional Court of Chile banned the free
distribution of the emergency contraception pill (EC) in the public health
system. In Colombia,
the high court Consejo de Estado ratified the government health agency INVIMA’s
authorization of importation and distribution of emergency contraception pills.

This
year, Peruvian and Honduran legislators and judges continue to give opposing
statements.

Last
March, the Superior Court of Justice of Lima
issued a sentence recognizing the right of all 
Peruvian women to have equal access to the EC, while rejecting a
judicial request calling to stop the free distribution of EC by the Ministry of
Health to poor women. Stopping its free distribution would be discriminatory,
since the EC pills are sold to women who can afford the cost.

Meanwhile,
on April 2, the Parliament of Honduras approved in just one plenary session a
bill prohibiting the promotion, commercialization, free distribution and use of
EC pills. The bill also prohibits the dissemination of information about the
use of contraceptive pills like EC, and states that those who violate the bill
will be subject to the punishments established for the crime of abortion.

The
Penal Code establishes three to six years of prison for the agent (doctor,
midwife, etc.) when abortion is practiced with woman’s consent, six to eight
years of prison without her consent and without violence or intimidation and
eight to 10 years of prison when the agent uses violence and intimidation.
Moreover, women are punished with three to six years in prison to consent an
abortion.

According
to Centro de Derechos de Mujeres
(CDM),"the bill was approved without debate, in just one session, taking
advantage of a circumstance where the national attention was focused in a
football game," and it was voted in a plenary "with the participation of just
50 legislators." 

The
bill was submitted to the Parliament by female legislatorsNelly Jeréz (from the
National Party) and Martha Lorena Alvarado (Liberal Party).

In
a protest statement,a Honduran NGO asks, "How is it possible that two
legislators, from their sectarian and fundamentalists visions, impose a legal
act which will have dramatic consequences for millions of women, ignoring their
sexual and reproductive rights, and their rights to be informed, to access
medicines and to get timely and appropriate health care?"

Once
again, the motivation of the legislators is that the belief that emergency
contraception is an abortifacient, and therefore is against the national
legislation, which penalizes abortion.

The
pharmacies "are offering to our youth an abortive medicine, because it is made
to be used after sexual relations, so it is not a normal contraceptive but an
overdose of hormones, whose effects were analyzed by the Colegio Médico de
Honduras (Medical College of Honduras) and declared as an abortive pill,"
Alvaro said to a local daily.

The
World Health Organization (WHO) clearly explains that "Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs)
have been shown to prevent ovulation and they did not have any detectable
effect on the endometrium (uterine lining) or progesterone levels when given
after ovulation. ECPs are not effective once the process of implantation has
begun, and will not cause abortion."

The
EC pill has been used by women who cannot face a pregnancy at a particular time
in their lives. In such a way, EC avoids an 
undesirable pregnancy and even an unsafe abortion. The EC pill is also
recommended for women who have been raped as long as the EC is used up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse.

Just in 2007, 4,000 instances
of rape were reported to Honduran authorities. According to the National Survey
on Demography and Health, the prevalence of women being abused since 12 years
of age is close to 10percent.

The Consorcio Latinoamericano de Anticoncepción de
Emergencia
(CLAE) called the President of the Honduran Parliament and its legislators
to revise their decision regarding the EC pill upon the international
scientific evidence at the base of the WHO statement, which says the EC method
is not abortive.

However, so far the
Presidential veto would be the last thing to stop the bill.

The Red de Salud de las Mujeres Latinoamericanas
y del Caribe
and the Latin
American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights
, along
with the CLAE and the CDM, issued a protest declaration in which these
organizations underlined that the approved bill violates various international
conventions signed by Honduras such as the Convention for the Children’s Rights
and the American Convention on Human Rights,and it infringes on Honduran public
policies as well. 

Soon after the bill was approved,
the medicine’s price increased and it is being sold by a clandestine market,  according to local media.

 

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  • invalid-0

    I thought that the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya already vetoed the anti-EC bill. Is that not the case?

  • edguider

    I was just about to comment on the same, I though he vetoed that bill. This article details it Honduran President Vetoes Legislation Banning Abortifacient

  • aphroditea

    Yeah? How come? I smell something stinky about this. Anyway, people’s unquenchable thirst for “the dirty details”, and sensational headlines is nothing new. These days though, in an age of citizen reporters and instantaneous communication, anyone with a hint of celebrity status is going to have to deal with negative press served up digitally, at hyperspeed, and viral spread. This should be no secret to publicists and PR pros, but given some stories of late, and the rather incorrect responses we have seen, one has to wonder. For instance, the sexual assault case of Ben Roethlisberger or the murder case of Steve McNair or maybe the peephole video of Erin Andrews. Those are news that should be taken with proper caution.

  • http://www.bonoredkingspoker.es/poker-online/ invalid-0

    That the pill should be adopted throughout the world because it brings many unwanted births of which 80% in the babies end up suffering long-term well being is still a lifeless until 72 hours before.

  • http://apple-trend.blogspot.com/ invalid-0

    For the sake of good relations with strategically important countries the administration of the USA sometimes shuts eyes to infringements of human rights, unpopularity of leaders at the population and their serious personal lacks…