Constitutional Court of Lima, Peru, Resolution No. 3 on Preliminary Measure

Plaintiff Violeta Cristina Gomez Hinostroza initiated a constitutional protective action (amparo) seeking the free-of-charge distribution of Levonorgestrel, an emergency oral contraceptive, in the State’s medical centers.  In the context of such action, the plaintiff also requested a precautionary measure ordering the State to distribute Levonorgestrel in its medical centers free of charge—the same relief ultimately sought in the principal action.

The relief at issue conflicted with the prior decision of the Constitutional Court in File No. 02005-2009-PA/TC, ordering the Ministry of Health to abstain from developing national public policies for the free-of-charge distribution of the “morning after pill” (e.g., Levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception) (the “Decision”).  The Decision was grounded on the understanding that conception occurred at the time of fertilization, when the male and female gametes are joined prior to implantation, and also the doubts surrounding how emergency contraception affected the uterus and the implantation process.  On these bases, the Constitutional Court concluded that emergency contraception l affected the unborn’s right to life, and ordered that its distribution by the State be ceased.  The Sentence also noted that in the event that the level of consensus regarding the safety of emergency contraception changed in the future, the position taken by the Court would need to be revisited.