- BBC World News
It was in October of last year when Javiera *, 32, discovered that she was pregnant.
The news was surprising to him. She had been taking contraceptives for three years.
However, the test came back positive.
The woman discovered then that she was not the only one.
Her and others 170 women in Chilethey had been victims of a scandal that has hit the country’s public health system hard: the administration, by mistake, of defective contraceptives to thousands of women.
The pill is called Cancel CD, from Laboratorio Silesia SA, and, until seven months ago, it was distributed to more than 300.000 people under the State family planning program.
The Institute of Public Health (ISP) de Chile warned of this situation in August last year, requesting the withdrawal of these contraceptives from the market.
But the measure came too late. The tablet had been in circulation for over a year and reports of unwanted pregnancy were increasing every day.
Despite the fact that most of those 170 women have chosen to continue with their pregnancies, Javiera decided to request an abortion.
Thus, on December 17 of last year, the young woman went to the Family Health Center (Cesfam) where she was attended and submitted her request.
In Chile, the interruption of pregnancy is allowed under three grounds: the unfeasibility of the fetus, danger to the life of the mother or rape. For the first two, there is no limit on the gestation weeks of pregnancy.
Javiera accepted the second cause, arguing that, as a result of the situation in which she finds herself, she was suffering significant psychological damage and, consequently, her life was in danger.
Cesfam did not respond to his request and so Javiera decided to go to court.
Arguments for the protection appeal
Imbalance in his mental health, panic attacks, anguish, lack of appetite, symptoms of discouragement and even lack of motivation that have prompted him to have “suicidal thoughts” they were part of the health picture that the woman wielded before the Chilean justice.
The young woman also assured that it does not count with financial means or support networks to care for a son or daughter, Well, he is just taking the first steps to practice his technical profession.
The protection appeal presented to the courts by the defense of Javiera -who is now 23 weeks pregnant-, states that the Cesfam where she was treated had a “act illegal and arbitrary” by omitting the abortion request and requesting that her mental state be evaluated in order to opt for an interruption of the pregnancy.
A “significant” ruling for women’s rights in Chile
This Wednesday, the Court of Appeals of San Miguel, in Santiago, accepted the young woman’s request, setting an important precedent for the reproductive rights of women in Chile.
In a unanimous ruling, the court ruled that in the case of Javiera there was violation of the right to life, physical and mental integrity of women, as well as a violation of their right to equality before the law.
In addition, the judgment concluded that by not responding to the woman’s initial request, Cesfam had, in effect, acted not only in an “capricious” and “arbitrary” but also “illegal”.
The Court of Appeals ordered that within five days the Family Health Center evaluates the woman to determine whether or not she can accept the cause of termination of pregnancy.
According to the ruling, the State of Chile has a “proactive obligation to care for the life and physical and mental integrity of people” and “abandoned this obligation since it delivered defective contraceptives.”
The judges also affirmed that “the lack of physical, spiritual, economic and social means” in an unwanted pregnancy represents a vital risk in itself, which many times “perpetuates the precariousness of women.”
“This ruling is very significant in the possibility of moving forward, both in legal and social terms, in the women’s reproductive rights in Chile “, the lawyer tells BBC Mundo Laura Dragnic, of the Miles Corporation, who represented Laura at the request.
The lawyer also assures that the sentence sets a precedent with respect to the abortion law in the South American country.
“The ruling speaks of the interruption voluntary pregnancy as a legal right. And that is important because in general the interpretation of the abortion law in Chile is for circumstances of extreme necessity, “he says.
“Until now it has not been understood as a right properly. And that is very significant, especially considering the discussions that are coming regarding legal abortion within the constitutional process,” he adds.
But Javiera still has a long way to go. Cesfam must rule on your health and then decide whether or not you can interrupt your pregnancy.
However, the delay in the process has not helped her. With 23 weeks pregnant, an abortion is not recommended.
In this regard, Laura Dragnic affirms that the decision will be made once there is a final resolution by Cesfam.
*The organizationfrom the complainantand asked keep the confidentiality regarding the real name of javiera, with the purpose of safeguard your privacy.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.