By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  CHILE, November 13, 2007 ( – Two of Chile’s largest pharmacy chains, Cruz Verde and Ahumada, have announced that they will begin selling the abortifacient “Morning After Pill” after thousands of dollars of fines and threats to close the companies completely on the part of the socialist Bachelet administration.

  The two chains, together with a third called Salcobrand, control more than 90% of retail pharmaceutical sales in Chile. Salcobrand has continued to refuse to sell the drug and unlike the other two chains has refused even to meet with the Bachelet administration, citing reasons of conscience. Some pharmaceutical workers have refused to sell for the same reason.

  The battle over the distribution of the pill has raged in Chile since 2001, when pro-family groups took the government to court to prevent the free distribution of the pill sought by the socialist administration.  However, the Chilean Supreme Court ultimately approved the drug in 2006, after acknowledging it violated the Constitution’s prohibition of abortion in its original 2001 decision. The Bachelet administration’s policy is to distribute the pill to girls as young as 14 without their parents’ consent.

  Both the Pope and the Catholic bishops of Chile have made their objections to the policy well known. The Pope did so indirectly recently by stating that pharmacists had an obligation to refuse to sell drugs that prevent implantation of the unborn child, as does the morning after pill (see recent LifeSiteNews coverage at

  Alejandro Goic, the head of the Chilean Bishop’s Conference, recently denounced the government’s actions, noting that “a subject so transcendent and fundamental as the origin of human life would merit a great debate on the part of the whole national community, and not the imposition of a unilateral vision.”  He added that “we all know that the two NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that prepared the document with the Ministry of Health have a clear abortionist policy and their ultimate goal is to create an abortion law for Chile.”

  The Chilean newspaper El Mercurio also condemned the Bachelet administration in a recent editorial, denouncing the fact that “the weight of the state authority ignored the objections of conscience of the respectable members of the pharmaceutical union, who tried to exercise the basic right of carrying out their tasks consistent with the dictates of their moral principles.”

  See related LifeSiteNews,com coverage:

  Chilean President Signs Decree to Permit Hand-Out of Morning After Pill to Young Girls

  Chilean and US Catholic Bishops go Opposite Ways on Morning After Pill

  Chilean Court Reverses Its Decision and Allows Abortifacient ‘Morning After Pill’