More than 100 Chileans believe they have become pregnant after taking pills that are provided by the government. However, neither the state nor the pharmaceutical company that made the pills offers any help to women. The fact that abortion is illegal in the country makes the situation even more difficult.
When Melanie Riffo discovered that she was pregnant, in September last year, the young woman suspected that something was not right. Only 20 years old, the Chilean woman guarantees that she has always been careful with regard to sexual practices and guarantees that she took the contraceptive pills that were prescribed and given by the public health center, but she still got pregnant.
“I never thought of being a mother at this age. I wanted to go to university, but now it will be even more difficult for me, ”said Riffo. The young woman’s unexpected pregnancy may have been the fault of birth control pills Anulette.
According to VICE, placebo pills were mistakenly switched to active ones – a mistake that is responsible for over 100 unwanted pregnancies.
The laboratory that manufactures the Anulette – Silesia – issued a warning about the batch, but did not apologize for the incidents or offer help to women who are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.
In an interview with national television, the laboratory explained that the problem was present in only 12 of the products, but it was not possible to inspect all the boxes. He further insisted that the state should have checked the pills before distributing them in public health centers.
“Women trusted the pills they received from state clinics. It is not only the laboratory’s fault, but also the government’s. Both are responsible ”, says Anita Peña Saavedra, director of the Chilean reproductive rights organization Miles Corporation.
Currently, the group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of all women who became pregnant while taking Anulette when the defective pills were in circulation.
Estima-know that close to 267,000 defective pill boxes were distributed in 26 health centers in the country, before the pharmacist’s statement was issued. At least 112 women in Chile believe they are pregnant because of the defective pills.
Several activists argue that the situation highlights the need to establish more reproductive rights in Chile, where abortion is illegal, except in cases of rape, if the mother’s life is at risk, or if the fetus has no chance of surviving after delivery.
“This is a case that shows why having three legal exceptions is not enough. And always important to have access to free and legal abortion ”, stresses Paula Avila, a human rights lawyer, adding that these women “have no other choice but to go to a clandestine service and put their lives at risk”.
Melanie Riffo also planned to terminate the pregnancy through a clandestine abortion. “I didn’t want to have the baby”, but since she didn’t want to take the risk, the young woman considered it better to “move on and see what happens”, despite the fact that she is currently experiencing depression.
In view of the events, the Chilean Minister of Health, Enrique Paris, blamed the laboratory for the error during an interview with the national news, stating that pregnancies proven to be caused by the pills must be compensated. So far, the Ministry has offered psychological assistance to only a few affected women.
Anita Peña Saavedra, gives Corporation Miles, stresses that the fault lies with a “chain of errors” that begins in the laboratory and ends with government quality control. The objective of the legal struggle that the institution is waging is to demand compensation and adequate responses for these women.
The Chilean government guarantees the legal team of Corporation Miles which launched an investigation after receiving the first complaint about the B20034A lot in August 2020.
Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //