The Chilean Health Minister, Pedro Garcia, has given mayors in Chile an ultimatum, demanding they obey an order to distribute the morning after pill. However Marta Ehlers, mayor of Lo Barnechea, is refusing to distribute the pill because of its abortifacient nature.
Although the Supreme Court of Chile prohibited the sale of the pill in 2001, Garcia has issued an order obliging mayors to make 35,000 dosages of the pill available in local clinics.
Health officials now say the pill should only be made available to women who have been raped, but the initial norm, sent out to mayors last April 15, required that it be distributed for practically any reason.
Since she first denounced the plan, Ehlers has become the target of attacks by those who support the policy. Garcia called Ehlers a “rebel” mayor and threatened to cut off funding for the municipalities of those mayors who refused to make the pill available.
Ehlers told CNA that as mayor she believes she must defend life from the moment of conception and that she will not allow lies to obscure the truth about abortions.
“I believe life is the most essential right of the human person and as such is above the authority of the State. The government can only recognize it and protect it, it cannot restrict or limit it in any way,” she said.
Because the pill prevents a newly conceived life from implanting itself in the wall of the uterus, the “effect is without a doubt abortifacient, and therefore I am opposed to the distribution of this drug by our local clinics,” she added.
“The Health Ministry is seeking to make abortion legal by decree in our country. Since we have opposed this illegal and unconstitutional measure, they are threatening to take away our funding. I think this is because of the weakness of their position on this issue and because of the government’s intention to sow division among mayors” who belong to pro-life groups “during this election season,” she added.
According to Ehlers, “as political authorities we represent the entire community and we follow the law in this country, which establishes legal and constitutional protection for the unborn, from the moment of conception.”
Elhers insists that “the defense of life comes first and foremost” and she called on Chileans “not to be fooled and to realize that the morning after pill is not a contraceptive, but a method of abortion.”
“Therefore I will continue in this struggle by expressing by energetic rejection of the measure imposed by the government. Life has been given us by God and no human being has right to end it, no matter how,” she added.