The citizen initiative “14 million- Life, family and liberty”” [es], which opposes the free distribution of the day-after pill and other forms of family planning policy, has caused controversy among Ecuadorians.
Those involved in this initiative say that parents’ right to choose education for their children according to their values and principles has been ignored. They also denounce the intention to introduce laws that threaten the definition of marriage between men and women, changing the word “sex” with “gender” in citizen identification cards.
The group names these and other points in a video [es] inviting citizens to participate in a “great gathering for family, life and liberty.” The gathering took place on May 19, 2013 in the cities of Quito, Santo Domingo y Guayaquil. The YouTube channel Fourteen million [es] shared the video:
On May 18, President Rafael Correa rejected the actions of the “14 million” movement. The newspaper El Tiempo [The Times] [es] published some of Correa's declarations:
“No es verdad, como pretenden hacer creer estos señores, que a un niño de doce años se le regalan anticonceptivos. Esa es una mentira monstruosa” y de “mala fe”, enfatizó Correa, un mandatario de izquierda que también se declara “católico practicante”.
Señaló que el grupo “14 millones”, que es la cifra redonda de habitantes en Ecuador, “no tiene personería (validez) jurídica” y dijo sospechar que detrás de ella “están todos los opositores al Gobierno”.
“It is not true, as these people want to make you believe, that a 12-year-old child will be given birth control. It is a monstrous lie” and in “bad faith,” emphasized Correa, a leftist who describes himself as a “practicing Catholic.”
He stated that the “14 million” group, which refers to the the approximate number of people in Ecuador, “does not have an official, valid status” and said he suspected that “those who oppose the government are behind it.”
Isabel Maria Salazar, national director of the “14 million” movement, said in an interview for the Ecuavisa channel [es] that they are not in favor of or opposed to any political party:
“Nosotros somos una auténtica iniciativa ciudadana donde estamos varones, mujeres, jóvenes. No queremos que esto se vea como una manifestación a favor o en contra de determinadas posiciones políticas, más bien estamos preocupados porque se le ha dejado a la familia de lado en varios proyectos de educación, y también en aquello que corresponde a la salud.”
“We are an authentic citizen initiative in which we are men, women and youth. We do not want to be seen as a manifestation in favor of or against determined political positions, but more so we are worried because family has been left to the side in various education projects and that also relates to health.”
Salazar further showed her rejection of the free distribution of the day-after pill [es] without parental consent, stressing that according to article 29 [es] of the constitution of Ecuador, parents have “the right to choose for their sons and daughters an education in line with their principles, beliefs and teaching methods.”
Days before the gathering, the group released a pamphlet featuring the stamps of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference [es], the Archbishop of Quito [es], the the Pro-Life Action Foundation [es] and others.
However a letter signed by Mateo López, deputy secretary general of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, later clarified that “the use of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference stamp in '14 million’ movement materials has not been authorized by this conference and appears against its wishes, which were expressly communicated to the organizers.”
Silvia Buendía (@silvidabuendia) [es] shared the image on the “14 million” pamphlet:
Then she apologized and shared the letter from the Episcopal Conference:
Loli Andrade (@loliandradem) [es] stated her support for the May 19 gathering:
While Jose D'María (@JoseMatamoros_) [es] wrote about the rights of children:
Rafael Silva (@_RBSILVA) [es] also showed his support of “14 million:”
However, there also exists opposition to the movement, in part because they chose to call themselves “14 million,” the number of people in Ecuador, and many do not feel represented by the ideas of the group.
Majito Lasso (@majitolasso) [es], for his part, shared his opinion about being “pro-life:”
In a similar manner, Mónica Pazmino (@justmonique1981) [es] wrote: