Nicaragua Bishop Criticized for Attack on Contraception

Bishop Alvarez. photo:

HAVANA TIMES, March 7 — Several women’s organizations in Nicaragua have questioned Bishop Rolando Alvarez, who suggested Matagalpa pharmacies remove from their shelves “any medicine that may indirectly cause an abortion.”

The bishop stated on television that he made that recommendation to the owners of 11 of the 42 pharmacies in the city of Matagalpa, adding that he would continue that initiative with the other pharmacists.

Dr. Ana Maria Pizarro, from the “Women’s Health Network in Latin America and the Caribbean,” asked to know more about the intentions of the religious official.

She said that the “morning-after pill,” which has been known for over 50 years, is not considered abortive by health science organizations. Pizarro also asked Nicaraguan bishops to respect the country’s secular state.

Sara Enriquez, from the “Regional Network against Violence against Women” in the city of Leon, reminded the public that the Ministry of Health is the only entity responsible for regulating the sale of medicine anywhere in the country.

Enriquez said that the availability of all contraceptive methods must be ensured to women.

The “Matagalpa Women’s Network” responded by issuing a statement warning about the “serious consequences this action could have on the health and lives of women in Matagalpa.”

The Catholic Church has greatly increased its influence on public health and education issues in Nicaragua under the government of Daniel Ortega.