If women are raped in Honduras they now have no legal way to keep from becoming pregnant without fear of imprisonment. In February 2012, the Honduran Supreme Court voted to uphold the strictest ban on emergency contraception in the world. This ban criminalizes the sale, distribution and use of emergency contraception known as the “morning-after pill.” If a woman is caught in possession of an emergency contraception pill, that is treated as severely as an abortion attempt and she can be sentenced to three to six years in prison. Abortion is completely restricted in Honduras.
Many organizations, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, contend that extreme bans on emergency contraception constitute a violation of women’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights. By contrast, the Catholic Church has actively promoted these bans. Many members of Honduras’ government are also members of the ultra-conservative Catholic Opus Dei movement.
Honduras’ poverty and adolescent birth rates add to the concerns. In a country where 70% of the population lives in poverty and half of all women give birth before the age of 20, the Supreme Court’s sweeping ban on emergency contraception further tilts the scales of justice against women, by compromising their reproductive rights.
Title: Honduran Supreme Court Upholds Most Sweeping Ban on Emergency Contraception Anywhere
Author: Jodi Jacobson
Publication: RH Reality Check
Date of Publication: February 14, 2012
Student Researcher: Eileen Harlin, Santa Rosa Junior College
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, Santa Rosa Junior College