For immediate release

100,000 call on Honduras not to criminalize contraception

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 21 March 2012-- Avaaz, a global campaign organization with members across Latin America, is calling on Honduras not to pass a law that would put women and doctors in jail if they use or prescribe emergency contraception. The law - Decree 54 - may be approved by the Honduran Congress any day now.

In less than a week the petition has been signed by close to 100,000 people - from every country in Latin America. It targets Congress President Juan Orlando Hernández, who will soon be candidate for President of Honduras.  It calls on Hernández “not to criminalize contraception” and not to “make Honduras the only country in the world to punish the use or sale of the morning-after pill with jail sentences of up to 6 years.” (1)  

Against medical evidence, supporters of the law claim that the morning-after pill constitutes an abortion. However, the World Health Organization and other similar respectable institutions, have clearly stated that the morning after pill is a contraceptive like conventional birth pills, acting to delay ovulation and therefore pregnancy.

“It’s barbaric to even consider jailing women for accessing basic health care,” said Avaaz campaign director Emma Ruby-Sachs. “Citizens from across the continent are calling on Honduras to reject this extremist law and ensure all women can use emergency contraception, especially when they’ve been the victims of rape, as is the case for far too many in Honduras.”

According to the Honduras-based  Center for Women’s Rights (CDM), from 2002 to 2010 homicides of women have increased 257 percent. (2) Every hour, five girls aged between ten and 19 get pregnant every hour, mainly as a result of rape by older men. (3)

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NOTES TO THE EDITOR

1. The Avaaz petition can be found at: www.avaaz.org/en/no_prison_for_contraception/?pressrelease

2. http://www.derechosdelamujer.org/index.php/documentos.html

3. http://www.latribuna.hn/2012/02/15/9-mil-ninas-de-10-a-14-anos-embarazadas-anualmente/