As Honduras’ first female President Xiomara Castro reaches her first year in office, many women who voted for her on the promise of stronger women’s rights have accused her of abandoning her platform as abortion and reproductive health rights remain restrictive.

Castro had campaigned partially on the promise of giving more access to reproductive health products for women in the country, with her inaugural speech specifying this point: “I will defend your rights, all your rights, count on me.” Over a year after she has been in her position, however, and activists are losing hope for change, according to The Guardian.

Their main sticking point has been the legalization of the morning-after pill, which has been illegal since 2009. Although it has been legalized under Castro’s term, it is only allowed for cases of rape, while abortion is still illegal in all cases in Honduras, even for rape or incest, the BBC reported.

“If a woman has an abortion in Honduras, it is not her fault, it is the fault of the state because it does not provide the resources to prevent these situations,” activist Jinna Rosales said.

Castro, who was expected to lift the ban on emergency contraceptives via executive order, has not done so, and her health minister José Matheu has been criticized for implying that the morning-after pill is an abortive.

Beyond these measures, two bills addressing violence against women in the country have so far lost traction in Congress. One bill is supposed to help expand the government’s ability to address violence against women, and another would create shelters for survivors of domestic violence.

Both bills have stalled in Congress, and many activists and feminists have chastised Castro for not using her influence as President more to push these bills through.

Despite these criticisms, many of them have haltingly praised some of the initiatives Castro has taken for women’s rights, including creating a ministry for women, as well as the appointment of certain feminists in important government roles.

“I had a lot of hope for her, and I still have hope for her,” activist Sandy Cabrera said.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro
Honduran President Xiomara Castro, pictured on February 25, 2022, announced upon taking office that banning open-pit mining was one of her priorities. Photo by: AFP/Orlando Sierra

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.