• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

The morning-after pill causes controversy in Costa Rican government

April 5, 2019

The morning-after pill, taken to prevent pregnancies, caused friction between the authorities of Costa Rica. The Ministry of Health intends to restrict its sale while the National Institute of Women (INAMU) says that it should be freely available.

The debate arose while health authorities were discussing whether or not to register the drug, known as Levonorgestrel, taken to avoid pregnancy after sexual intercourse.

“If a woman is a victim of rape or if she has had risky sexual intercourse, she ought to have the option of free access to emergency contraception,” the INAMU stated in a press release.

The organization claimed that it is effectively a method of contraception, like condoms or the IUD device and “it has no medical contraindication or any age limit” for its use.

However, the head of the Drug Registration Unit of the Ministry of Health, Ileana Herrera, told journalists that the morning-after pill ought to receive the same treatment as other pharmaceutical products.

“Products that are sold in the pharmacy can only be bought with a prescription, therefore, women should have to get a prescription and be sent by a doctor, in accordance with her health and personal circumstances,” said Herrera.

Feminist organizations have jumped to defend the pill as well as selling it without a prescription since time affects the efficiency of the pill.

Religious groups have spoken out against the drug’s approval, stating that it is effectively “an abortion,” and therefore, its sale in the country contradicts Costa Rican legislation, which only permits abortion in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. The pill only works to prevent pregnancies though and has no effect if a woman is already pregnant.

INAMU, quoting the World Health Organization, said that “all women and girls who run the risk of an unwanted pregnancy ought to have the right to emergency contraception.”

Correction: A previous version of this story included a photo of Mifepristone (RU-486), a drug that can be used to terminate an existing pregnancy. We have replaced it with a photo of the correct drug, Levonorgestrel, which is used to prevent pregnancy. 


This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.

Support the Tico Times

You may be interested

Climate Change Spurring Frog Extinctions: Conservationists
News
2 views
News
2 views

Climate Change Spurring Frog Extinctions: Conservationists

AFP - January 16, 2021

Three Central American frog species have gone extinct and many others may soon follow as their populations are ravaged by…

Rare White Tiger Born at Nicaragua Zoo
News
5 views
News
5 views

Rare White Tiger Born at Nicaragua Zoo

AFP - January 16, 2021

A rare white tiger, named "Nieve" (snow in Spanish) was born at the Nicaragua zoo, and is being raised by…

Costa Rica has administered 25,000 vaccine shots, Caja says
Costa Rica
16151 views
Costa Rica
16151 views

Costa Rica has administered 25,000 vaccine shots, Caja says

The Tico Times - January 15, 2021

Costa Rica’s public-health system has administered nearly 25,000 coronavirus vaccine shots, the Social Security System (Caja) reported. The figure —…