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Abortion Rights Still Face Challenges in Several Latin American Countries

LADB Article ID: 80467
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2017-12-01
By: Janelle Conaway

Women’s rights advocates marked a major victory this year when Chile rolled back its all-out ban on abortion, but they have little to celebrate in the rest of the region. Abortion is a crime in most of the region—Uruguay and Cuba are among a handful of places where it’s legal—but most countries allow it under specific circumstances. Six countries have absolute abortion bans: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Suriname. With several governments taking a more conservative turn and religious “anti-rights” groups becoming more active on the legal front, the region is seeing more threats to sexual and reproductive rights, said Diana Moreno, a legal fellow for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Center for Reproductive Rights, In Brazil, women took to the streets by the thousands on Nov. 13 to protest a potential setback to their rights: A congressional committee had approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would make all abortions illegal. Brazilian law bans abortion, but allows three exceptions––when the pregnancy is the result of rape, when the mother’s life is in danger, or if the fetus has anencephaly, this last exception adopted in response to the Zika crisis. While news reports indicate that the measure, now before Congress, would have to overcome several hurdles to become law, some organizations have expressed concern. “We want Congress to guarantee more rights, not to remove them,” Jurema Werneck, Brazil director of Amnesty International, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation

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