Morning after pill a question of human rights, not of faith, says Chilean bishop

Bishop Juan Igancio Gonzalez
Bishop Juan Igancio Gonzalez


Bishop Juan Igancio Gonzalez of San Bernardo said this week that the Church’s opposition to the use of the so-called morning after pill is not based on the faith but rather on the defense of fundamental human rights.

In response to the ruling by the Constitutional Court prohibiting the distribution of the controversial drug at public health facilities and the reaction of President Michelle Bachelet who questioned the ruling, Bishop Gonzalez said human life must not be attacked either in public health system or in pharmacies.

In an interview with Radio Agricultura, Bishop Gonzalez said, “This is not a religious issue.  The Church wasn’t the one to ask the court for a ruling.  It is a fundamental human rights issue, because every life must always be respected, and we are going to defend this until the end because this is an essential element of the constitution of the human being, not only of Christians but of every human,” he stated.

Bishop Gonzalez also expressed his disagreement with Health Minister Maria Soledad Barria, who has promised to keep selling the pill in pharmacies.  The Constitutional Court “has said this drug attacks life and therefore cannot be used.  Nobody in Chile can use it. The ministry cannot give it away to those who have less nor can those who have more buy it at the pharmacy,” the bishop said.

The bishop also interpreted the ruling of the justices, saying that they decided “in a split vote that the use of this drug attacks human life when conception has already taken place, and therefore it cannot be used.  And human life cannot be attacked either in the public health system or at the corner pharmacy,” he stressed.

Speaking from London, President Bachelet said the court’s decision would increase social differences.

Bishop Gonzalez also spoke about the divisions created by the ruling. “What makes me sad is that when people don’t like a ruling, the court that issued it or made it public is attacked. But these are deep issues, and I think we have to be honest to realize that there are two visions of man here... and we think the Christian vision is what has made this nation what it is.”

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