Container of contraceptive pills with pills for a month Uly Martín
This is the web version of Americanas, EL PAÍS América’s newsletter dedicated to news and ideas with a gender perspective. If you wish To, you can do so at this link.
I remember hearing from the New York Times about the Chilean women who became pregnant because they used faulty contraceptives. I lived in Washington, and although I checked the American press daily, it was very rare that they published something about my country: “A birth control pill failure in Chile could have resulted in dozens of pregnancies.” I was surprised by the content and looked for more information. The year 2021 had only just begun and the pandemic dominated the public agenda. I found very little in the local media. The issue just wasn’t treated as a major scandal.
A few months ago I returned to Chile and came across the news of a bill aimed at giving laboratories more responsibility when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of a faulty contraceptive. I wondered what would become of the victims in that case.
It was no longer the dozens when the news broke, but more than 200. They received the pills at public health centers; most were poor. Women without good sex education and without the means to stand trial against Andrómaco and Silesia, the laboratories that made contraceptives. The labs have compensated them financially, although the amount is confidential, thanks to Miles Corporation, which provides legal counsel to victims who believe they have been victims of sexual and reproductive rights violations. To date, the state has done nothing for them. The company is preparing a lawsuit to have the state repair those affected, an action that was suggested by the UN itself earlier this year. If they don’t reach an agreement with Gabriel Boric’s government in the short term, they will present it.
How do you fix a woman who was forced to have a child despite continuing birth control methods? The harm isn’t in the child, as one conservative industry has interpreted over lawsuits. The damage affects women’s freedom. And in this case poor women.
During the government of Sebastián Piñera, the company tried unsuccessfully to reach a redress agreement with the state, but the latter rejected the minimum condition of the negotiation: to create a standardized protocol that would oblige health centers to record the batch number of the pills delivered to each user, content to ” Generate steps to follow” in the event of an unlawful refusal of a voluntary abortion, publish them on the websites of the centers and provide psychiatric care to those affected free of charge.
In Chile, abortion is only decriminalized when the mother’s life is at risk due to fetal incapacitation and rape. Melanie Riffo, one of those affected, now 22 years old and mother of a one-year-old and three-month-old boy, told me on the phone last week that she had started searching the internet for abortion options. He felt unable to take care of another person. He found treatment for $75, which, aside from being outside of his budget, didn’t give him confidence. She’s still waiting for someone from the state to contact her. That he offers psychological help, financial help for education, anything. The issue continues without being treated for what it is: a scandal.
In late May, President Gabriel Boric apologized on behalf of the Chilean state to Francisca, a woman living with HIV who was sterilized without her consent while giving birth in a public hospital in November 2002. The victim of sexual and reproductive rights violations had to wait 20 years for an apology from the state. I hope that the 200 affected women will not have to wait that long.
These are our recommended articles of the week:
The participation of senators and deputies in the chamber is almost 30% and thus significantly higher than in the previous legislative period.
The Chamber’s representative recognizes her place in the Capitol as a vindication of black people and women.
The president, rejected by 60% of women, confirms a retired general as a candidate for the office of vice president.
The National Network of Shelters is attending to 15% more victims so far this year and reports that every hour a woman seeks help from a violent situation.
The woman with burns covering 70% of her body died this week in a Mexico City hospital.
By placing the gender approach in public policy at the center of analysis, it is possible to focus more on sustainability rather than just profit maximization.
In her latest work, the Mexican chronicler Didí Gutiérrez brings together the writings of a fictional group of women writers who embody the female utopias of a generation that did not exist.
And some final suggestions:
🎧 A podcast and an artist: Womansplaining and Nadia Granados. By Sally Palomino
The Colombian author Gloria Susana Esquivel is the host and producer of this space where gender is discussed from different social and cultural perspectives. It’s difficult to recommend a single chapter given that the podcast has existed since 2018 and many topics have been addressed, but taking advantage of the fact that one of its guests, Nadia Granados, just won the Luis Caballero Award, I leave the link here of the chapter talking about Colombianization, an artistic project about the violence promoted by the political elite.
Nadia Granados is a Colombian performance, experimental film, web art and cabaret artist known internationally as La Fulminante. The important distinction she has just received for Colombian culture considers her “one of the most prominent figures in the Latin American post-porn performance scene”. The exhibition for which she was awarded speaks about the relationship between advertising, war and masculinity. In this chapter of Womansplaining she talks about her work.
✨🌈 A virtual workshop. Art + activism + feminist knowledge. From Almudena Barragán
The Mexican collective Disidenta organizes this second edition on the theme “Community of social practice and feminist knowledge”. The workshop proposes the use of art as a tool to show the effects of violence on bodies, but also to propose possible solutions from art in a theoretical and practical way. “Breaking everything starts with how we think”, they say from the project, which starts on August 1st. Supporters include artists and activists Cerrucha, Lorena Wolffer and María Laura Rosa, who have previously participated in the founding of MUTUA, an experimental arts and feminist knowledge community. From Monday to Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You can download the complete program here: https://www.disidenta.com/info-programa-arte-feminismo. Contact email: [email protected]