Rio Drops 'Pill by Mail' Plan After Church Talk

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro dropped a pioneering plan to mail contraceptives to women in poor neighborhoods for free on Wednesday after the mayor consulted the Roman Catholic archbishop.

The city's health secretary, who had come up with the idea, said the health service would still give contraceptives and other medicines to needy people at its stations.

The mailing program would have started next month but after speaking with the Archbishop of Rio, Cardinal Eusebio Scheid, Mayor Cesar Maia published a decree limiting the mail distribution to patients with chronic illnesses.

"It will not happen. I spoke to the mayor and he said that he was against it," an archdiocese spokesman quoted Scheid as saying.

A spokesman for the mayor said there had been no pressure from the church, which strictly opposes the use of contraceptives. Brazil is the world's biggest Roman Catholic country.