From Choluteca, a southern Honduran city near the border with Nicaragua, Pineda recalled receiving a text message from her friend when they were in high school.
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The pair went to every pharmacy in Choluteca's urban centre, where a worn-down church stands at the central plaza, a symbol of the enduring presence of the Catholic church, asking if they sold the morning -after pill. They were turned away time and time again until they reached the last pharmacy in town, which finally sold it to Pineda's friend. But advocates say if a new campaign to address stigma and change public opinion is successful, motherhood will always be a choice in Honduras. The campaign, called Hablemos Lo Que Es Let's talk about what it is , which launched in April, has worked to debunk the misinformation surrounding the PAE - that it induces abortions and causes cancer.
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The campaign aims to reach the entire country, including Choluteca. A billboard with a black and white image of a young woman with long, black hair, head resting on her hands, stood on the way to the winding road from Choluteca to Tegucigalpa with the words "Hablemos Lo Que Es". The effort to change Hondurans' opinions and misconceptions about the PAE has been met with an equally strong backlash from anti-abortion rights groups, according to members of the Strategic Group for the Legalization of PAE.
It's a lie," Michelle de Idiaquez, president of Provida Honduras, an anti-abortion rights organisation based in Tegucigalpa, told Al Jazeera of the campaign. She claimed that the morning-after pill is abortive and that the campaign should not suggest otherwise. Headway on the political front has also stalled.
The current Health Minister, Alba Consuelo Flores, told Al Jazeera that she is reviewing the decree, but would not say clearly whether she would consider issuing a new decree to allow the sale and use of the morning -after pill in Honduras.
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But public opinion is slowly changing. According to surveys conducted by feminist organisation Rights Here and Now Derechos Aqui y Ahora , part of the Strategic Group for the Legalization of PAE, more than half of Hondurans are in favour of allowing the morning -after pill to be bought and sold in the country.
Meanwhile, Honduran women like Pineda, Emilia, and Cintia still have to scour pharmacies worried about whether they will be able to find the pill that will allow them to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. That's why Honduran women should have free access to PAE: because it's our right to decide what to do with our bodies. Anna-Cat Brigida is a freelance journalist covering politics, immigration and human rights in Latin America.
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