Lift ban on emergency contraceptive pills in Tamil Nadu
** Content warning: this page contains mentions of abortion and depression **
“I was denied ECP and I had to go through with an excruciating abortion and a period of depression” – Lavanya Narayanan
Did you know that there’s a ban on Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs), like the I-pill, in Tamil Nadu? It’s the only state in India that denies women the right to purchase ECPs.
What’s worse is that the ban is not based on any legal ground — the pill is banned because the Tamil Nadu government thinks it’s not “moral”!
Take action now and ask S. Abdul Khader, Director of Drugs Control, to lift the ban on emergency contraceptive in Tamil Nadu immediately.
ECPs are important — many people across India have relied on these pills when regular contraception, like condoms or birth control pills fail. Victims of rape rely on these pills to avoid pregnancies. And having access to them within 72 hours is crucial to ensure this.
But the situation in Chennai is grim. In 2005 the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare made ECPs available in India as over-the-counter drugs. But, in 2006, the TN government’s drug controller seized stocks worth Rs 50 lakh from Chennai’s pharmacies because they thought these pills were ‘abortion pills’. This not only shows the complete lack of understanding of women’s health, but a strong desire to control women and the choices they make with their bodies.
Please sign the petition asking Tamil Nadu’s Director of Drugs Control, S Abdul Khader, to immediately lift the ban on ECPs for women’s rights and health.
Here’s the biggest shocker. The 2006 Director of Drugs Control, N Selvaraju responded to protests over ECPs not being available by saying, “We are not against women’s rights, but this is a moral concern. The advertising of this drug will mean that women will think, ‘I can do anything and there is an easy way not to get pregnant’. We can’t allow such an attitude to grow.”
This is the kind of mindset we’re up against — where women are denied the right to make choices for their own bodies. Please take action now.
There has been some confusion with the use of the term ‘ban’ in different media publications and this campaign. There is no clarity whether or not there is an official/legal ban on Emergency Contraceptive Pills in Tamil Nadu. There is however a de-facto moral ‘prohibition’ on emergency contraceptives in Tamil Nadu where some women have access and most others don’t.
We believe in reproductive justice for all women to be able to have access to Emergency Contraceptive Pills. However, we do not advocate for the use of emergency contraceptives as the primary method of contraception.
1. OMG, Still No Emergency Contraceptive Pills if You Live in Tamil Nadu?, http://theladiesfinger.com/emergency-contraceptive-pills-in-chennai/
2. Tamil Nadu Must Stop Violating the Sexual Rights of Women, http://thewire.in/24959/tamil-nadu-must-begin-to-recognise-the-sexual-rights-of-its-women/