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Uruguay: President Signs Sexual and Reproductive Health Law

(Feb. 3, 2009) Uruguay's President Tabaré Vazquez signed a law on December 1, 2008, that establishes that the State will guarantee conditions for the full exercise of the sexual and reproductive rights of the entire population and, for that purpose, will promote national policies of sexual and reproductive health, develop new programs, and organize services to implement them according to the specified principles and norms (Law No. 18426). One of the general objectives is to standardize the coverage of sexual and reproductive health at the primary care level, strengthening the integrity, quality, and timeliness of services with proper infrastructure and capabilities and the commitment of adequate human resources and information systems. The specific objectives are, among other aims, to publicize and protect the rights of children, adolescents, and adults related to sexual and reproductive health information and services; promote responsible maternity and paternity and the accessibility of family planning services; prevent the spread of and reduce the damage caused by sexually transmitted infections; and prevent and reduce the damage resulting from the consumption of legal and illegal addictive substances.

The Ministry of Public Health will approve specific norms for the integral care of the sexual and reproductive health of children and adolescents and for training human resources for the pertinent services; promote the early detection of pregnancies for improved health; and support couples and persons in attaining their goals in matters of sexuality and reproduction, contributing to the exercise of the right to decide the number of children and the times to have them. Sexual and reproductive health services in general and those related to birth control in particular will be part of integral health programs provided to the population. Law No. 18426 also adds an article 11 bis to the Code of the Child and Adolescent, concerning information and access to health services. (Law No. 18426, 27630 DIARIO OFICIAL [Official Gazette] (Dec.10, 2008), available at