|How do Latin America’s total abortion bans affect women’s health and
human rights and society at large? Who should make decisions about
whether to end a pregnancy? Should society understand abortion from a
religious or public health perspective? These are just some of the
difficult questions that panelists raised during the June 10th Symposium
on Reproductive Rights in Latin America, jointly sponsored by the
Inter-American Dialogue and the Center for Reproductive Rights.|
Each of the symposium’s three panels addressed reproductive rights in
Latin America through a particular lens. To start the symposium, Chilean
Congressman Vlado Mirosevic Verdugo and Morena Herrera, president of
the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical
and Eugenic Abortion, Feminist Collective in El Salvador, discussed the
health and human rights consequences of total abortion bans in their
Click here to view Mirosevic Verdugo’s presentation.
Mexican political scientist Denise Dresser and Uruguayan vice minister
of health Dr. Leonel Briozzo assessed the effects of abortion
liberalization on democracy and social equity in their countries.
Harvard professor Jocelyn Viterna, meanwhile, addressed not only how
abortion bans negatively impact reproductive health, but also how they
create criminals of innocent women.
Click here to view Briozzo’s presentation.
Catholics for the Right to Decide’s Julián Cruzalta of Mexico, Chilean
family law and international human rights attorney Macarena Saez of
American University’s Washington College of Law, and Georgetown Law
Center’s Oscar Cabrera closed the symposium by analyzing how
liberalizing or tightening abortion bans can affect women’s civil
rights, democracy, social equity, and health.
Click here to view Cabrera’s presentation.
Six countries in the world completely ban abortion, and five of them are
in Latin America. During his presentation, Briozzo noted that the
region is home to some of the world’s most Catholic countries,
several of which also have alarmingly high maternal mortality rates.
The Church, a powerful institution in many Latin American societies, has
significantly influenced how the region understands abortion, Cruzalta
asserted. He further argued that the region must reassess its abortion
regulations for “profound ethical reasons.” Society and the state should
neither “judge a woman’s conscience” nor violate her human rights.
Panelists also mentioned that political and social institutions,
including the Church and political parties, play a powerful role in
advocating for their ideological position on reproductive rights
legislation and influencing public opinion and lawmakers to follow suit.
Click here to read Dresser's remarks.
READ THE COMPLETE SUMMARY HERE.