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

Xiomara Castro, who is Honduras' first woman President, has overturned a 13-year ban on the morning-after-pill.

She said that she had made the change by executive order for International Women's Day, which falls on Mar. 8.

According to BBC, she shared that the emergency contraceptive pill was "part of women's reproductive rights, and not abortive."

Castro, who took office last year, has promised to relax the country's restrictive reproductive rights laws.

She said that on March 8 which commemorates women's "historic struggle," she was signing the "Executive Order for the universal use of the morning-after pill."

She added that the World Health Organization (WHO) determined it is part of "women's reproductive rights and not abortive."

NBC News reported that hundreds of women marched through Honduras' largest cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa on Wednesday. Their demands ranged from expanded reproductive rights to ending femicides.

Honduras, which is a heavily Catholic country, banned the use and sale of the pill in 2009. The argument was that emergency contraception would cause abortions.

But Castro allowed its use to rape victims in November 2022, according to Reuters.

Abortions are criminalized in the Central American country, and if convicted, a person can face up to six years in prison. This is applied even in cases of rape or incest.

Reproductive rights activist Sandy Artega is happy with Castro's decision, but said that more work needs to be done.

She said that they will monitor the process of "implementing the morning-after pill and we will fight for the other rights that we lack." She feels that the door is now open for "more sexual and reproductive rights."

An interview for a BBC documentary on black market abortion pills was shot in July 2022. At the time, Honduran Health Secretary Jose Manuel Matheu said that the nation would never change its stance on the issue.

He said that they are "not going to promote the morning-after pill as contraception." He added that doing it would lead to "sexual debauchery."

Following the release of the documentary in December, "desenfreno sexual" (sexual debauchery) started trending in Honduras on Twitter. Activists slammed Matheu's choice of words.

And on March 8, Matheu was photographed alongside Castro while signing the executive order.

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