On May 17, 2012, the Center for Reproductive Rights held a demonstration on the steps of the Honduran Congress. Our mission: to stop the government from passing a bill that will imprison women for using emergency contraception. Alejandra Cárdenas, Legal Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean, had planned to personally hand-deliver 730,000 petitions to the Congress signed by activists in more than 80 countries in protest.
The response was completely unexpected.
Juan Orlando Hernández, president of the Congress, declined to take our petitions—but not because he didn’t hear the massive outcry. In fact, Hernández said he’s no longer planning to bring the bill up for debate—and even proclaimed support for women’s self-determination.
This is a major victory for women in Honduras, but the fight is not over.
The Center met with five Congressmen who did take our signatures, and they have promised to push for a vote next week to make sure that this bill—which is still waiting in the wings and can be voted on at any time—is defeated once and for all.
The Center is profoundly thankful to the thousands of people who took action and joined us, along with our partners Centro de Derechos de Mujeres and Avaaz, to speak out against this radical bill.
Emergency contraception is vital everywhere, but especially in places like Honduras where sexual violence against women is rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high, and access to regular birth control is limited.