In several Latin American countries, thousands of people marched for the right to safe and legal abortion on Tuesday, marking International Safe Abortion Day.
Large groups of people marched to protest the restrictive and severely punitive abortion laws in many Latin American countries. Protesters held up signs with the slogans, “legal abortion for health and life,” “it’s our right to decide,” and “legal abortion, safe and free.” Marches were held in Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia.
El Salvador’s abortion law is one of the strictest in the region. The country completely bans all abortion, even in the case of rape or incest and when the mother’s life is at risk. People can be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for having an abortion in El Salvador.
800 women marched in Bogota, Colombia, where abortion is banned except for cases of rape, if the fetus has severe birth defects, or if the pregnancy risks the mother’s life.
While many Latin American countries still have extremely restrictive abortion bans, others are taking steps at reform. In Chile, where abortion is also currently illegal unless the fetus has a severe defect, the mother’s life is at risk, or the mother was raped, lawmakers will debate a proposed bill that would expand abortion rights across the country. The bill would decriminalize abortion before 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled to decriminalize all abortion in the country, which is an essential step toward making abortion legal in all of Mexico. Last year, Argentina legalized abortion before 14 weeks of pregnancy as well.
“Women are reminding states and societies that we’re full citizens, not second-class,” said Ita Maria Diez, a leader of the march in Bogota, Colombia.
“That we have the right to abort, to voluntarily interrupt pregnancy, to decide about our bodies, about our lives, and about our maternity wards.”
Sources: CNN 9/29/21; Reuters 9/29/21; Aljazeera 9/29/21