Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chile: Unions strike work for a day in protest against abortion ruling

By Matt Malinowski WeNews correspondent

SANTIAGO, Chile (WOMENSENEWS)--Hundreds of Chileans are planning to renounce their membership in the Roman Catholic Church on April 29 as an outcry against a major blow to the government's push for expanded access to contraception.

On April 18 Chile's Constitutional Court outlawed distribution of emergency contraception in public health clinics to women 14 and older, a policy implemented in September 2006 by the government of President Michelle Bachelet to lower teen pregnancy rates in a country where 15 percent of births are to women 18 or younger. Emergency contraception remains available in the nation's private pharmacies.

Over 10,000 people also marched in evening demonstrations to protest the court's decision Tuesday.

Mujeres Publicas, or Public Women, a women's rights group in Santiago, has used e-mail to organize the "massive apostasy," that is, an active rejection of the Catholic faith. Group members say that roughly 500 people have signed up to participate so far and they expect the figure to reach 1,000.

Participants are being asked to sign a letter requesting the Catholic Church remove their names from all records and then deliver the document to their nearest archdiocese. Women from each of Chile's 15 regions have committed to the abandonment of their faith. ...

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