The Legal Status of Emergency Contraception in Latin America
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 116, pp. 87-90, 2012
4 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 9, 2012
Timely access to emergency contraception (EC) can contribute to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and ultimately, the number of unsafe abortions and maternal fatalities. In Latin America, where all countries are parties to international human rights treaties that recognize the rights to autonomy, privacy, and health, and recognize sexual and reproductive rights including the right to family planning, the legal status of EC has been discussed in the courts. This article focuses on the analysis of the principal arguments voiced in the courts: the difference between contraceptives and abortifacients, the scientific status of available research on EC, and the age at which people develop a legal right to make decisions about their personal health. The conclusion is that Latin American countries whose laws or regulations ban access to EC in the public and/or the private sector fail to fulfill their obligations under international human rights law.
Keywords: Abortifacients, Contraception, Discrimination against Women, Emergency Contraception, Human Rights, Latin America, Secondary Prevention
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