Honduras Reproductive Rights

CONADEH urges Honduran Government to Expand Reproductive Rights

CONADEH urges Honduran Government to Expand Reproductive Rights. In a communication made on January 25, CONADEH recognized the partial repeal of the prohibition of the emergency contraception pill for surviving victims of sexual violence as a great step in a long struggle for women’s reproductive rights in Honduras. However, CONADEH and other feminist organizations pronounced the step as “not enough,” urging the government to make the emergency contraceptive method accessible to all Honduran women, regardless of the circumstance, and comply with its international obligations in the area of women’s human rights.

CONADEH considers the elimination of the prohibition; the promotion and use of the Píldora Anticonceptiva de Emergencia (PAE), the emergency contraception pill, as a great step in the struggle to achieve the approval of the Comprehensive Law Against Violence Against Women.

CONADEH’s Pronouncement

The National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), in the exercise of the constitutional mandate to ensure the prevention, promotion, protection and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, by supervising the actions or omissions of State institutions as a whole and private entities that provide public services, in order for them to comply with their obligations in terms of human rights, pronounces itself in the following terms:

  1. CONADEH considers the elimination of the prohibition on the promotion and use of the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (PAE) for the cases of surviving victims of sexual violence, as a great step in the struggle to achieve the approval of the Comprehensive Law Against Violence Against Women.

However, the Ombudsman reminds the State of Honduras that various United Nations Treaty Bodies and the Inter-American System have recommended that it eliminate the absolute prohibition of PAEs, so that it can effectively comply with its international obligations in the area of women’s human rights.

  1. Likewise, CONADEH echoes the provisions of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”), stressing that “the obligation to respect rights requires that the States Parties refrain from hindering the measures taken by women to achieve their health goals.”

Additionally, CONADEH highlights that Honduras, as a State Party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, accepted the international obligation to adopt “all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the sphere of medical care in order to ensure, under conditions of equality between men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.”

  1. In this sense, CONADEH urges Government Institutions to remain willing to adopt the measures that are necessary to comply with international obligations regarding sexual rights and reproductive rights, comprehensively addressing all aspects to raise awareness, acceptance and approval of these reforms in favor of all Honduran women.

For its part, the Centro de Derechos, CDM had this to say:

“The partial release of the PAE continues the lack of guarantees for the sexual and reproductive rights of Hondurans. Given the recent partial release of the Emergency Contraceptive Pill, PAE, which limits its access only to victims and survivors of sexual violence, we pronounce ourselves:

1. 2,914 women and girls reported being victims of sexual violence in the country in 2022 and according to data from the Ministry of Health, per year, less than 50 women and girls seek medical attention after sexual violence. These figures demonstrate that even the partial liberation of the PAE does not guarantee that all women will have access to it after an assault.

2. We recognize the openness of the New Government to discuss the sexual and reproductive rights of women; However, we regret that the partial release of the PAE was based on the erroneous argument of the Secretary of Health, José Manuel Matheu, that the PAE “is not a contraceptive method,” resulting in misinformation and stigmatization of this medication and those who use it.



3. We reiterate that the PAE is an emergency contraceptive method recognized and recommended by the World Health Organization, whose only mechanisms of action are to inhibit the ovulation process and thicken the cervical mucus with the sole purpose of preventing unwanted pregnancies.

4. We demand that the health authorities immediately implement the care protocol for victims and survivors of sexual violence, guaranteeing respectful care and without discrimination to those who need it.

5. We recognize that the partial release of the PAE is an advance for the sexual and reproductive rights of Hondurans but we insist that it is not enough, restricting access to this medication leaves the comprehensive sexual health of thousands of Honduran women unprotected. The PAE must be free for all.”

The CDM is an autonomous, critical, proactive feminist organization that promotes the human rights of women in Honduras.“


“Honduran women, I will not fail you. I will defend all your rights, count on me,”

Xiomara Castro


Reflecting on the progress of women’s rights in Honduras, El Salto spoke with Regina Fonseca, Hogla Teruel, Carmen Fabiola Villatoro and Elma Perdomo, four Honduran feminists who shared their analysis of the new Castro government on the situation of women’s sexual and reproductive rights during their visit to Madrid.

During their stay, the activists received the news of the decriminalization of Emergency Contraceptive Pills (PAE) in cases of rape.

Regina Fonseca described the news as “discriminatory and a mockery of the women who have fought for 13 years.” This measure consists of a care protocol for rape survivors who, after reporting the complaint, must go to the health center, where “they will surely be cared for by someone who has no idea, who ends up revictimizing them and looking at them from head to toe.”

The measure is also discriminatory for women in rural areas who do not have nearby health centers and for minors who will need the consent of their parents, said Fonseca. In addition, Fabiola Villatoro recalls that many do not go so far as to report it because “they are raped by their father, grandfather or uncle.”

“Due to the lack of PAE, many women with disabilities are sexually violated and abused, and all of this remains private. Observatories do not segregate data. A deaf woman, for example, cannot communicate because we only have seven professional interpreters in the country, and the university that had the degree closed a long time ago,” said Elma Perdomo.

Somos Muchas

The lives of Honduran girls are affected by the discrimination, inequality and prejudice they face every day, describes Josselyn López of Somos Muchas, a platform that fights for the legal and social decriminalization of abortion in Honduras

Every day, four girls under the age of 14 become mothers in Honduras, states López. This situation limits access to education because “the burden of care and upbringing weighs on her, and she is abruptly perceived by society as a mother, not as a girl.”

According to data from the Ministry of Health (SESAL), between January and May 2022, 8,557 adolescent births were reported, of which 352 correspond to girls between the ages of 10 and 14.


“Honduras is one of the countries with the highest rates of adolescent pregnancies in Latin America,”

Somos Muchas


López states that the majority of adolescent pregnancies (between 15-19 years old) are the result of the lack of comprehensive sexuality education, access to modern contraceptives and even sexual violence;

“Which means that they are unwanted pregnancies. Forcing girls and adolescents to become mothers constitutes torture. The psychological conditions that they will suffer range from the fear of being rejected, stress, dissociation, anxiety, depression and even suicide, as happened to Paola Guzmán in Ecuador.”

For Somos Muchas, “Pregnancy in girls and adolescents marks the unexpected end of childhood, where they face responsibilities for which they are not prepared; This violates girls’ rights.”


Soledad Quartucci, PhD

Dr. Soledad Quartucci | Founder

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