TEGUCIGALPA — Honduran President Xiomara Castro signed an executive order ending a more than 10-year ban on the use and sale of the “morning-after pill,” fulfilling a long-awaited campaign promise by feminist groups. .

Castro, the country’s first female president, took office last year after running on a promise to roll back the country’s restrictive reproductive policies.

Honduras, a strongly Catholic nation, banned the use and sale of the morning-after pill in 2009, arguing that emergency contraception would cause abortions.

Castro opened its use to rape victims in november.

The Central American country criminalizes abortion, and those convicted face up to six years in prison, even in cases of rape or incest.

Castro, who signed the order on International Women’s Day Wednesday, tweeted that the morning-after pill was «part of women’s reproductive rights and not abortive,» citing the World Health Organization.

Hundreds of women marched through Honduras’ largest cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, on Wednesday, with demands ranging from the expansion of reproductive rights to an end to femicides or the killing of women because of their gender.

The year before Castro took office, the Honduran Congress passed a constitutional reform to protect anti-abortion laws, which required a three-fourths vote to change them.

Women’s and human rights groups have filed more than a dozen appeals, which have so far been unsuccessful. Between 50,000 and 80,000 clandestine abortions occur each year in the country, according to a 2019 estimate from local rights groups.