After Argentina, what's next for the fight for legal abortion in Latin America?

Wednesday, January 27

By Rocio Mourelos

What is like for Latin American women when they try to fight for their rights?

Abortion has been on the main objectives soon to solve on almost every Latin American country for the past few years. The WHO estimates that 3 out of 4 abortions done in Latin America are dangerous and lack of security, causing both physical and emotional damage to the woman, or even her death. Out of the 40 countries that integrate the territory, only 6 allow the practice of abortion in legal terms: Cuba, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Guyana, French Guyana and Argentina, being this the last country who joined the group last December.

Argentina's fight started years ago, but abortion was put on the spotlight in 2018, when the project was presented to the deputies for them to vote in favour or against it. This divided the country in two: the green ones, who were in favour, and the blue ones, who were againstthe legalization. Moreover, the news were discussed in every TV programme, newspaper, radio programme, school, work, family dinners. Everyone was talking and expressing their thoughts and doubts. Despite the massively spread of the issue, senators desestimate the project and cancel its legalization.

Two years passed and, in the middle of a global pandemic, the project was presented again and finally, on December 30th, the Senate legalize abortion in the country. The project claims that all women 16+  can practise an abortion up to week 14, unless they were raped or the pregnancy is risky for their health. In those two cases, women can abort in any period of the pregnancy. The project also includes for doctors the chance to reject practising an abortion, but they must take the pregnant woman to another doctor who is ok with doing it.

Argentina had its predecessors; countries who had already legalized abortion. Uruguay was probably the main country that inspired women: abortion there has been legal for almost 9 years now, with conditions which are pretty similar to Argentinians ones, and with a whole medical help plan for women before, during and after the abortion.

In spite of all these legalizations, there are still countries in the region who haven't legalized abortion. In Mexico, for example, only 2 states allow abortions, out of the 32 that constitute the country. In late December, women have invaded Quintana Roo and Puebla Congresses to claim a debate. Authorities have promised to do so between January 15th and April 15th of the current year (and we all hope they keep their promise). Colombia is also fighting their own struggles as since 2006, around 5000 women, most of them teenager between 14 and 17,were reported to the police for practising an abortion.

Even though the fight for this human right seems huge, there are Latin American countries who prohibited abortion, and it seems like they won't agree to a debate in a near future. This is the case of, for example, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. But the fight won't stop. Latin American women won't stop until legal abortion turns into a right for every girl out there.

Latin America will be feminist in its entirety.

Subscribe to our Newsletter & Never Miss a Post!