Temporary Halt on Free Emergency Contraception in Chile
A Santiago, Chile Court of Appeals has placed a provisional suspension on Chile's progressive decision to distribute free contraception to women 14 and older without parental consent. The government's program had included free distribution of emergency contraception (EC). The injunction was issued Wednesday after a group of parents and two mayors claimed that "the EC-for-everyone plan infringes on parents' rights because it doesn't require that teens seeking emergency contraception have parental authorization", Salon reports.
Soledad Barria, Chilean Health Minister, told Chile's National Television that this injunction is harming young women as well as all low-income women. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet agrees, saying, "Any person with a doctor's prescription can buy [EC], because it's been legalized for sale, but there are people with fewer resources who can't buy it, and so we have opted to provide it at doctors' offices as needed," according to Salon.
According to The Santiago Times, Barria says that the Health Ministry plans to appeal the court's decision saying, "We would consider it very grave if this affects the control and the distribution of contraceptives and information to youth."
Media Resources: Salon 9/15/06; Reuters 9/13/06; Santiago Times 9/14/06