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The Chilean Government Gave Out Defective Birth Control Pills Which Caused Dozens of Unplanned Pregnancies

Photo via Getty Images

The fight for women’s right to choose what to do with their bodies is a fight that continues to rage on throughout the world. That fight is especially intense in Latin American countries, where cultural attitudes towards sex and abortion are highly influenced by Roman Catholic ideals.

Recently, women in Chile were provided defective birth control pills from the government. The faulty contraceptives have resulted in at least 140 unplanned pregnancies.

The incident happened when the Chilean government–which is the primary method that women get birth control pills–distributed pill packs that were packaged incorrectly. The pill packs–which went by the name of Anulette CD–had placebo (“sugar pills”) in the place of the active pills.

Reproductive health advocates began hearing rumors that the government had issued defective birth control pills, so they did some investigating. One reproductive rights organization, Corporacion Miles, requested a formal inquiry into the rumors. Because of the inquiry, 276,890 packets of birth control pills were quietly recalled in August of last year.

These unplanned pregnancies are especially challenging because Chile, like many Latin American countries, have very restrictive abortion laws.

Unless a woman has been sexually assaulted or her life is in danger, it is hard to get an abortion in Chile. Because of these laws, women have little means to deal with these unplanned pregnancies. Either that, or they can opt for a clandestine abortion, where their lives could potentially be put at risk.

The Chilean women who became pregnant, after taking every precaution to prevent such a thing from happening, are scared. Many of them, already feeling strained from the emotional and financial strains of the pandemic, don’t feel ready to have a child.

“I don’t think people grasp how hard it is to be a mother for a woman who is not ready,” said Marlisett Guisel Rain Rain, a mother of three who became pregnant with her fourth child after taking the defective birth control pills. “You have to rebuild yourself completely.”

Both the government and the contraceptive manufacturer are pointing fingers at each other for who is to take the blame.

The pill manufacturers are claiming that they have had “no reports” of unplanned pregnancies after taking their pills. But they also insist that if the pills were defective, healthcare workers should have noticed the problem before distributing them. In response, the Chilean government is fining the manufacturer $92,000 due to “quality problems”.

“Women were trusting the pills they were given by state-run clinics,” said said Anita Peña Saavedra, director of Corporacion Miles. “The fault is not only with the laboratory but also with the government. They are both responsible.”

The only bright side that reproductive rights activists see is that this debacle might inspire Chileans to reconsider the countries strict anti-abortion laws come November, when the country will vote on a new government and new constitution.

“This is a very emblematic case to show why having [three legal exceptions] is just not enough and why it is always important to have access to free and legal abortion,” said Paula Avila, a human rights lawyer and head of the U.S.-based Women’s Equality Center.

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This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

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This Month, Isabel Allende Is Releasing a Memoir and HBO Is Releasing a Mini-Series Based on Her Life

Photo via Getty Images

March is a busy month for Isabel Allende. The most successful Spanish-language author of all time released a new memoir, “The Soul of a Woman”, on March 2nd. On March 12th, HBO released a mini-series based on her life entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”.

Both of these projects focus on the unifying themes of Isabel Allende’s life. How she has defied the patriarchy, bucked expectations, and pursued her dreams while the odds were against her.

The HBO mini-series, entitled “ISABEL: The Intimate Story of Isabel Allende”, covers a lot of ground. From Allende’s childhood in Chile, to the chaotic years of her uncle’s assassination (who happened to be Chile’s president), and her subsequent flight to Venezuela.

The series will also touch on different phases of her life. Her career as a journalist for a progressive feminist magazine. Dealing with her all-consuming grief when her daughter died in 1992. Publishing her first novel–“House of Spirits”–in 1982.

A scene from the trailer of “ISABEL” sums up the hurtles that Allende had to overcome to create a career for herself in the male-dominated world of publishing. “They are going to raise the bar because you’re a woman,” her agent tells her bluntly. “You’ll have to work twice as hard as a man in order to obtain half the prestige.”

Allende’s memoir, “The Soul of a Woman“, on the other hand, reflects on her life through a distinctly feminist lens.

Her publisher describes it as “a passionate and inspiring mediation on what it means to be a woman.” And it doesn’t appear that Allende is shying away from the label of “feminist”. One of the first sentences of her book states: “When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, even before the concept was known in my family, I am not exaggerating.”

Despite being 78-years-young, Allende’s beliefs–about feminism, freedom and intersectionality–are incredibly modern. Throughout her lengthy press tour, Allende has been candid about the life experiences that have shaped her beliefs–mainly how witnessing her mother’s suffering at the hands of her father contributed to her “rage against chauvinism.”

Today, Allende remains incredibly in touch with the progressive issues of the moment, like the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.

“In patriarchy, we are all left out: women, poor people, Black people, people with disabilities, people with different sexual orientations,” she recently told PopSugar. “We are all left out! Because it divides us into small groups to control us.”

Above all, Allende believes that we all–especially women–should recognize that we have many of the same goals and dreams. And we’re stronger when we’re united. “Talk to each other — women alone are vulnerable, women together are invincible,” she says.

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Javiera Mena Turns Up the Melodrama in “Dos” Music Video

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Javiera Mena Turns Up the Melodrama in “Dos” Music Video

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAVIERA MENA

Chilean singer-songwriter Javiera Mena is back with her first single of 2021. She is shining in her new music video for “Dos.”

“Dos” is about getting caught up in the feelings of a love triangle.

“Dos” is the newest single from Mena’s upcoming EP. Last year, she previewed the EP with the futuristic “Flashback” and club-ready “Corazón Astral.”

With “Dos,” Mena retains her crown as the Latine queen of synth-pop. Whereas “Flashback” and “Corazón Astral” were more upbeat, she now puts her electronic touch on a heartbreaking ballad. Mena produced the song with Pablo Stipicic and co-wrote it with Marian Ruzzi. “Dos” channels the ’80s pop power ballads and Mena brings on the melodrama. She’s so in love with two and doesn’t know what to do.

“‘Dos’ is a classic ballad with an avant-garde message,” Mena said in a statement. “The song talks about a common topic, triangular relationships but from a different point of view. In this case from a person who is having feelings for two loves and that perhaps both of them fit in his/her heart.”

In the “Dos” music video, Mena sings her heart out.

Despite singing of a love triangle, Mena is all alone in the music video. She plays the piano in an abandoned warehouse. The openly queer icon sings her heart out in the stunning visual.

Mena’s new EP is due out later this spring. “[It’s] a night album with a desire as a common thread,” she adds. “A lot of mystery, sensual dance and above all, a lot of fire. This style of the album is an evolution of who I am: Electro with ballad tints.”

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