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04.23.12 - Can you imagine living in a country where women are thrown in jail for using emergency contraception—even if they were raped?
This heinous law is currently pending before the Honduran Congress with a vote scheduled any day now.
We have the power to stop this law. Juan Orlando Hernández, the head of the Honduran Congress and a presidential candidate who cares deeply about his reputation abroad, holds immense sway over this vote. If we pressure him now we can kill this bill.
Help us reach one million signatures and we'll hand deliver the signatures directly to Congressional President Hernández on May 16th.
Working with Avaaz and local partners Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, we’ve already collected a staggering 735,000 signatures. It’s no wonder this bill has sparked such a global outrage. 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
The devastation this law would cause cannot be exaggerated. If passed, 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 outright violation of World Health Organization guidelines.
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.
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, the Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding the ban. Now, the Honduran Congress is preparing to vote on this bill which has the power to impose criminal punishments on any medical professionals who distribute and sell emergency contraception and on any woman who uses or attempts to use the medication to prevent an unintended pregnancy.