The rights of Chile's women

International Herald Tribune - Letter to the Editor |

Chile's highest court recently ruled to prohibit the distribution of emergency contraception (EC) in public health clinics in all circumstances, including to women who have been victims of rape. This decision drastically threatens efforts to ensure the rights and well being of Chilean women.

Over the last few years, a series of political and legal challenges have delayed attempts to curb unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions in Chile, where nearly 40,000 teenage girls become pregnant and 35 percent of all pregnancies are terminated illegally each year.

This most recent court ruling challenges significant efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies in a country that already faces high teenage pregnancy rates. Abortion is illegal in Chile and without safe options for avoiding unwanted pregnancy the court's decision could mean that Chile's teenage pregnancy rate will continue to climb.

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