Guatemalan Family Planning Law Suspended

Guatemala’s Supreme Court suspended a law that requires the government to make birth control available and allow sex education to be taught in schools.

The court had acted at the request of Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, who initially vetoed the law in November. But Congress was able to overturn the veto and push it through Jan. 31 before the Supreme Court intervened earlier this month.

The Archbishop of Guatemala City, Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, said the law would promote a "culture of death", compared contraceptives to "bullets" and insisted that sex education and birth control would lead to abortions. Church leaders are working with Berger to overturn the law.

Women’s rights groups praised the law claiming that it would prevent abortions, decrease maternal mortality rates (which are the highest in Latin America) and would help reduce poverty.