Peruvian Government Attacks Women’s Rights

Women’s rights advocates are accusing Peruvian Prime Minister Luis Solari and Health Minister Fernando Carbone of attacking women’s reproductive rights. They claim that the Peruvian government is promoting a strict Roman Catholic philosophy, idealizing and pushing motherhood, and restricting contraceptives and birth-control information for the poor, according to the Associated Press. These policies severely restrict women’s personal choices regarding their reproductive health and rights.

The Center for Gender Equity (CGE) reports that the policies come at a time when President Alejandro Toledo’s administration is under scrutiny for not providing adequate educational and health care services to its people. These new regulations will require Health Departments to “protect the life and health of all unborn children from their conception, and to register them officially as conceived and [as] the subjects of constitutional rights,” according to CGE.

Women’s organizations have been criticizing the government for not providing adequate birth control supplies or emergency contraception (also known as the “morning after pill”) to the poor, even though these pills are legally available at pharmacies that wealthier women can afford. As abortion is illegal in Peru, without access to birth control women will continue to have illegal and unsafe abortions. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 4 million women in Latin America undergo illegal abortions each year, and in Peru one in seven of the 350,000 women who have illegal abortions annually ends up in the hospital, AP reports.

Learn More Read the Center for Gender Equity’s report on the situation in Peru

LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

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Associated Press 6/15/03; Kaisernetwork.org 6/18/03; Center for Health and Equality 6/2003

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