Some good news on Chile and Plan B

Good news! Temporary injunction on free distribution of Plan B overturned: Got that?


Rebecca Traister
September 26, 2006 8:16PM (UTC)

The temporary injunction against the Chilean government's plan to distribute Plan B free to women over the age of 14 has been lifted.

A brief recap: Emergency contraception has been legal and available by prescription and without parental consent in Chile since 2001, but for the comparatively steep price of $20. A couple of weeks ago the government, led by President Michelle Bachelet and Health Minister Soledad Barria, announced a plan so unbelievably enlightened and fair-minded that it boggles the American mind. Given that the prohibitive price of birth control and E.C. left poor women at a disadvantage, Chile would distribute birth control and Plan B for free, without parental consent, to anyone over the age of 14 who wanted it. Naturally, this policy was simply too smart and progressive to be real: Lawsuits were promptly filed by some affronted parents and conservative politicians, and a temporary injunction was placed on the program until those suits were resolved.

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Well, now that injunction has been lifted, thanks to an appeals court panel in Santiago that overturned it on Sept. 21. A government spokesman said that the panel's decision "seems correct" and added that the decision "obligates [the government] to take responsibility for the profound and serious reality that the sexual initiation of young people in Chile is occurring at a very early age." Amen. But keep in mind that the lawsuits that precipitated the injunction are still pending; there should be rulings on them in coming weeks, so anything could happen.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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