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Monday, March 27, 2023

Thousands of Women March across Latin America for Abortion Rights

Salvadoran protesters sought to pressure legislators to ease misogynist and inhumane laws that prohibit termination of pregnancy in cases of rape and even if the mother's life is at risk

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd

LATIN AMERICA: Thousands of women marched for abortion rights across Latin America on Tuesday, holding placards and banners that read “It is my right to decide” and “legal abortion for health and life,” as they demanded reproductive freedoms in a region known for some of the world’s strictest anti-abortion laws.

Legal abortion is fully permitted only in a handful of Latin American countries. Most of their nations still ban abortion, including El Salvador, which has sentenced some women to up to 40 years in prison. In a number of high-profile cases, it is heartbreaking to see women being convicted and imprisoned for suffering miscarriages and stillbirths.

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The rallies, held on International Safe Abortion Day, were aimed at pressuring lawmakers to ease punitive abortion laws, with demonstrators taking to the streets in countries including El Salvador, Chile and Mexico.

With Salvador already seeing one of the world’s most ruthless abortion laws, president Nayib Bukele yet ruled out any amendments to abortion laws as part of the controversial constitutional changes planned by his government.

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Morena Herrera, a prominent Salvadoran feminist, told journalists: “Such a move to protect the integrity of women does not require constitutional reform. It can be done now and if it is true that there is independence of powers, the Legislative Assembly must respond,” she added.

Also Read: US Justice Department: Texas Abortion Clinics Will Be Protected

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In Mexico City, women marched to the historic center under the gaze of police with shields and riot helmets. “I still don’t know if I want to be a mom, but I want to have the right to decide,” read a sign held by a young woman with a green scarf around her neck.

“Women are reminding states and societies that we’re full citizens, not second-class, and that we have the right to abort, to voluntarily interrupt pregnancy, to decide about our bodies, about our lives, and about our maternity wards,” said Ita Maria Diez, a leader of the Bogota demonstration.

Changes to abortion laws are happening in some regions; a march was also held in Chile, where the lower house of Congress agreed to debate a bill to decriminalize abortion for up to 14 weeks after pregnancy.


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