Honduras Stands Behind Ban to Punish Those Who Use Emergency Contraception

[Leslie Carol Botha: Reproductive rights and the choice when to have children is crucial to women’s health and sanity. Honduras has virtually slapped all women in the face for their barbaric ban and punishment for women who use emergency contraception making the offense equal to having an abortion.]

Honduras Supreme Court Upholds Absolute Ban on Emergency Contraception, Opens Door to Criminalize Women and Medical Professionals

02.13.12 – (PRESS RELEASE) The Honduras Supreme Court has upheld the country’s absolute ban on emergency contraception, which would criminalize the sale, distribution, and use of  the “morning-after pill” — imposing punishment for offenders equal to that of obtaining or performing an abortion, which in Honduras is completely restricted.

“By banning and criminalizing emergency contraception, Honduras is telling the world it would rather imprison the women of its country than provide them with safe and effective birth control,” said Luisa Cabal, director of international legal programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today’s decision from the Honduras Supreme Court blatantly disregards women’s fundamental reproductive rights and completely ignores the respected medical opinion of experts around the globe. It will cause significant harm in the lives countless women and doctors across the country.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights has been working with local and international women’s rights groups to fight this ban on emergency contraception since it was first passed by the Honduran Congress in April 2009. Then-President José Manuel Zelaya was successfully urged to veto the ban a month after it was passed — immediately making the issue a matter before the Supreme Court.

However, following the country’s June 2009 coup d’état, the de facto minister of health issued an administrative regulation in October 2009 banning emergency contraception, despite not yet having a ruling from the Supreme Court that would allow criminal enforcement of the ban.

Nearly three years after the ban was vetoed by President Zelaya, today’s ruling now allows the Honduran Congress to impose the previously proposed criminal punishments on any medical professionals who distribute and sell emergency contraception and any woman who uses or attempts to use the medication to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.