The feminist president of Chile helped to promote legislation that legalized the distribution of emergency contraception in her country. Reproductive freedom is very limited in Chile, where the age of sexual consent is 14 and 15% of all pregnancies are to girls under the age of 18. Access to EC is a big step in the right direction.
The influential Roman Catholic Church, however, has condemned distribution of the pill as a form of abortion that encourages promiscuity and intrudes on personal freedoms. In a statement, the national conference of bishops said the government’s actions are “reminiscent of public policies established in totalitarian regimes, by which the state aimed to regulate the intimate lives of its citizens.”
Wouldn’t limiting reproductive freedoms be more akin to regulating the intimate lives of citizens? Last I checked, giving women the widest variety of reproductive choices possible isn’t regulating their private lives; barring their access to contraception and throwing them in jail for having abortions sounds a little more regulatory to me.
Of course, it’s not only the church:
“When we are talking about girls between the ages of 14 and 18, parental consent is important,” said Senator Soledad Alvear, president of the Christian Democrats and Ms. Bachelet’s main rival for the alliance’s presidential nomination last year. “They can’t vote or drive a car or even buy cigarettes until they are 18,” she added.
Fair enough. But at 14, they can legally consent to sex — isn’t that a better standard by which to determine their ability to access contraceptives?
The concern about parental consent and totalitarian regimes seems a little misplaced in a country with an extremely high teen birth rate and laws which criminalize women for terminating pregnancies. One hallmark of totalitarian regimes is taking away freedom — not promoting reproductive rights. We’ve seen it everywhere from China to Rumania to Germany, and it’s the height of hypocrisy for the Church to shake its head at totalitarianism, and then support the exact policies that such regimes depend on.
Similar Posts (automatically generated):
- For Love of Babies, Pro-Life Governor Cuts Funds That Would Prevent Abortions by Jill July 12, 2006
- Another Reason to Love Mass by Jill September 23, 2005
- The Church’s dirty war by Jill September 17, 2007
- Time Magazine Calls Plan B “Abortion-Inducing” by Jill April 9, 2007
- Can’t NYC do better than this? by zuzu September 27, 2007