The drama of one hundred Chilean women, pregnant by negligence and prevented from having an abortion

Estefany Cavieres, 28, knows the symptoms of pregnancy well. Your stomach and breasts hurt, you feel nauseous, and you are tired. Therefore, when she felt them, she did not hesitate: she was one of the 111 Chileans who had become pregnant due to defective contraceptives.

“One day they called me from my medical center to let me know, there were some batches in poor condition, but my pills did not correspond to those boxes and I was calm,” explains the young woman, who had been undergoing this family planning treatment for three months administered in public hospitals.

However, he soon confirmed his suspicions. A pharmacological negligence had truncated his life plans, managed to stabilize his work as a stylist and dedicate himself to caring for his second daughter, three years old, who has health problems.

“The world is already too complicated to bring more children. And now I ask myself: who do I trust? One gets angry because the system leaves her lying,” adds Cavieres, who after three months of unwanted pregnancy and depression , suffered a miscarriage.

Valentina Donoso, 21, touches her belly while speaking. She is 6 and a half months pregnant, although she was also “taking care of herself with Anulette CD”, a contraceptive distributed in numerous public health centers in Chile, where thousands of women from the lowest socioeconomic strata receive their medications.


“Looking in the mirror is hard, I see my ‘wadding’ (belly) and it reminds me of this nightmare. There are days when I wake up well and I want to have it, but most do not,” explains the young woman, who has had to pause her plans to study at university.

Between March and September 2020, the Institute of Public Health (ISP), the highest pharmacological authority in the country, warned that eight batches of six different contraceptive pills administered in public health centers were defective and ordered their withdrawal from the market.

However, the institution again allowed the distribution of one of the brands, Anulette CD, just a week after withdrawing it, alluding to the fact that the flaws were visually detectable. More than 100 women reported unwanted pregnancies due to this drug, some of them minors, according to data from the Miles Corporation.

ISP sources consulted by Efe affirmed that the institution “is still studying its position and responsibility in the case.”

“I wanted to be a mother, but later in my life. I wanted to have a job and a house before this. I wanted to have a future,” complains Donoso, who only has the financial support of his parents and lives in a vulnerable southern commune From the capital.

The defective batches were distributed throughout the country and there are affected in several regions, such as Barbara Vásquez, 20, who also saw her studies as a child education technician in jeopardy when she found out about the pregnancy.

“I don’t have a job or anything stable to offer my baby, we need financial compensation. For my family this expense is too much,” insists the student, who lives in Ñuble, a region in central Chile, to Efe.

For Laura Dragnic, Miles’ lawyer, in this case there are two responsible: first, the laboratory that manufactured the drugs and second, the State for not monitoring their quality and for not meeting the needs of those affected.

“This constitutes a lack of service. There was no real accompaniment, it was something that the State tried to keep underneath,” the lawyer complained to Efe.

“My midwife called me to tell me to stop taking Anulette and warned me to buy other contraceptives on my own. We didn’t know anything else,” Soledad Castillo, a 35-year-old municipal worker who is also in her home, told Efe. 5th month of an unwanted pregnancy due to the failed drug.


Like other affected women, Donoso was denied the right to abortion since this pharmacological negligence does not strictly fall within any of the three causes for which abortion is allowed in Chile: rape, unfeasibility of the fetus or life risk of the mother.

For Estefanny Molina, a lawyer for Women’s Link Worldwide, a platform that raised the case to the United Nations (UN) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), this situation represents “a complete chain of violation of the sexual rights of Chilean women “.

First, Molina explains, because safe and effective family planning methods were not provided, then because these women were not allowed to abort, and finally because protection was not offered to those without resources.

“Chile has a challenge ahead. It is necessary to broaden the concept of sexual health and therefore review the decriminalization of abortion,” he says.

Legal abortion is a historic claim by feminist groups in Latin America, where only Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana, as well as Mexico City and the Mexican state of Oaxaca, have allowed the free and voluntary interruption of pregnancy.

Despite the fact that in Chile the total veto against abortion was lifted in 2017, more and more organizations are demanding that it be decriminalized beyond the three permitted grounds, something that is currently under discussion in Parliament.

“It cannot be,” Molina concluded, “that half of the population in Chile remains unprotected because the State does not care about the guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights.”