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Honduras: No jail time for birth control

April 16, 2012 • Family Planning, Honduras, Daily Email Recap

The following message was sent to me by Larissa Arroyo Navarrete; she is a coordinator with the Latin American Consortium for Emergency Contraception, aka: Consorcio Latinoamericano de Anticoncepción de Emergencia (CLAE).

Honduras: No jail time for birth control

The Honduran Congress is about to vote on a proposal that would send women to jail if they use the morning-after pill — even for victims of sexual assault. But the President of the Congress can stop this. He’s concerned about his international image and his future in politics, so our massive outcry can shame him and stop this attack on women. Click here to sign the petition:
[Sign the petition]<http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_prison_for_contraception_global/?cl=1715684314&v=13620>

Honduras is just days away from approving an extremist law that would put teenagers in prison for using the morning-after pill, even if they’ve just been raped. But we can stop this law and ensure women have the chance to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Some Congress members agree that this law — which would also jail doctors or anyone who sells the pill — is excessive, but they are bowing to the powerful religious lobby that wrongly claims the morning-after pill constitutes an abortion. Only the head of the Congress, who wants to run for the Presidency and cares about his reputation abroad, can stop this. If we pressure him now we can shelve this reactionary law.

The vote could happen any day — let’s show Honduras that the world won’t stand by as it jails women for preventing pregnancy even after sexual violence. Sign the urgent petition calling on the President of the Honduran Congress to stand up for women’s rights. Avaaz will work with local women’s groups to personally deliver our outcry:

<http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_prison_for_contraception_global/?cl=1715684314&v=13620>
A few countries, including Honduras, have banned the emergency contraceptive pill, which delays ovulation and prevents pregnancy — like ordinary birth control pills. But if this new bill passes, Honduras will be the only state in the world to punish the use or sale of emergency contraception with a jail term. Anyone — teenagers, rape victims, doctors — convicted of selling or using the morning-after pill could end up behind bars, in flagrant contravention of World Health Organisation guidelines.

Latin America already has too many tough laws which restrict women’s reproductive rights. The Honduras Congress first passed this draconian measure in April 2009, but just a month later then-President José Manuel Zelaya bowed to pressure from campaigners and vetoed it. Then Zelaya was removed in a coup, and the new regime has taken a sledgehammer to the country’s judicial processes and forced the bill back to a vote.

Time is short, but we can stop this awful proposal in its tracks. Congress has the final vote on the matter and the government doesn’t want to risk its already fragile global reputation. Let’s tell the President of the Congress not to make Honduras the region’s most repressive country against women. Sign this urgent petition now:

<http://www.avaaz.org/en/no_prison_for_contraception_global/?cl=1715684314&v=13620>
Emergency contraception is vital for women everywhere, but especially where sexual violence against women is rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and access to regular birth control is limited. Let’s stand with the women of Honduras and help them stop this bill.

With hope and determination,

Alex, Laura, Dalia, Alice, Emma, Ricken, Maria Paz, David and the whole Avaaz team


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