By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  ASUNCIÓN, November 23, 2007 ( – The National Congress of Paraguay has rejected far-reaching legislation to protect the undefined practice of “sexual choice” and to distribute contraceptives free of charge to the population. 

  The bill, which also would have banned “discrimination” against homosexuals, and provided “family planning orientation” at government expense, was rejected 26-13 by a bloc of legislators from the conservative Colorado and Beloved Fatherland parties last week after being introduced two years ago.

  Pro-life forces cheered the defeat of the measure, observing that the legislation would have posed a threat to freedom of religion in the nation. 

“Those who discriminate are penalized and are to be evaluated by a committee. Sexual choice is a personal decision, but we don’t want what happened in Sweden, that a pastor went to jail for a month for talking about Genesis and Romans,” said Julia Rivarola, a Catholic activist who opposed the measure.

  Rivarola also decried the intervention of international organizations in Paraguay to promote the legislation. “We believe that there was international pressure, because 80% of the sexual and reproductive health laws are similar,” she said. “We think that the United Nations Population Fund is behind this, with the support of the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank…and with that is achieved a complete ideology regarding birth control in developing countries.”

  Promoters of the bill were defiant. “This is not the first time nor the last time that we will present this bill and others that seek to defend the rights of those who are discriminated against,” said feminist representative Lilian Soto. 


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