Mapping abortion: Latin America and Caribbean

The 28th of September was the day of decriminalizing abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In many countries, activists and feminists once more remembered this day for women’s rights by posting on social media. The green handkerchief symbol of this fight was present.

In countries such as Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname, and Dominican Republic, abortion is illegal under any circumstances, according to the Map of Abortion Law from the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

In Republican Dominican, since 1884, the Penal Code bans abortion; thus, the campaign rd3causales, has been promoted by several women organizations, individuals, and others. This campaign was created after maternal death increased to 20.2% in 2020, according to the epistemology department. Sergia Galván, a renowned activist and feminist, expresses to the newspaper El País “it is cruel to obligate a woman who was raped to continue with a pregnancy”.

The #rd3causalesvan campaign on the Caribbean Island demands that abortion be allowed when:

1-The life and health of women or girls are under threat.
2- Pregnancy is unfeasible.
3- The incident is a case of rape or incest.

While in the previous ones it is a crime, in others, abortion is permitted in cases: where a pregnancy puts the woman’s life and health at risk; in case of rape, incest and deformation or unviability of the fetus. The following are among the countries where abortion is allowed for one or more of these reasons are: Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, and Venezuela.

Mexico is a case of its own since it operates under a federal system where each state is independent and, therefore, exercises the restrictions according to the laws of the state. However, throughout the country, it is allowed in case of rape or endangerment to the life of the mother.

Last month, a week after the Texas Supreme Court banned abortion in this state, not far from its border, in Coahuila northern state in Mexico abortion lawwas decriminalized. The  11 judges voted unanimously on it. This new law also prevents the persecution of women for getting an abortion.

This new decision can be very important to open the way for other states in Mexico since it is a big country and has many states. So far, in Coahuila, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Mexico City, abortion is permitted up to the 12th week of gestation without any explanation.

Many women and organizations that campaigns for abortion rights in Mexico consider this act as a “historical moment”.

In Cuba, Guyana, Argentina, French Guyana, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico, abortion is allowed in the first weeks of gestation and under the term established by law.

Abortion is satanized by many individuals in society; however, my question is to what extent is it reliable to have such laws while many women and girls die because of it?

One of the phrases that was common to read on different platforms on the 28th of September was: We want legal, secure, and free abortion. It is a right.

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