“You have to keep fighting”: Uruguayan Feminists Work to Build on their Gains

“You have to keep fighting”: Uruguayan Feminists Work to Build on their Gains

Aug 2, 2018

"For us, the issues of women’s bodies, their freedom, their autonomy is a big part of the struggle for women’s empowerment and emancipation in a patriarchal system." — Lilian Abracinskas, Mujer y Salud en Uruguay

For women in many Latin American countries, the small nation of Uruguay might seem like the country that could. After years of organizing and education by a determined feminist movement and its allies, Uruguayan women have made important gains in sexual and reproductive health and rights, including a law passed in 2012 that provides for legal abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Yet the feminist movement here knows well that any wins must be constantly defended, and progress only comes after tremendous effort.

Founded in 1996, Global Fund for Women grantee partner Mujer y Salud has been at the forefront of this movement, carefully devising a strategy of alliances that led to the victory. But one thing its members know is that sexual and reproductive rights aren’t just guaranteed on paper, and that laws—no matter how progressive they are—are a starting point, not an end, when it comes to assuring that all women can exercise control over their bodies and their lives.

Continued: https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/mujer-y-salud/#.W2ScqdUzbcu

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How ‘conscientious objectors’ threaten women’s newly-won abortion rights in Latin America

How ‘conscientious objectors’ threaten women’s newly-won abortion rights in Latin America
From Uruguay to Chile, medical staff are refusing to provide abortion services even after their legalisation.

Diana Cariboni
18 July 2018

Women’s rights to legal abortion have increased in Latin America – but so have campaigns and policies for medical staff to be able to ‘conscientiously object’ and refuse to participate in these procedures.

“We didn’t see it coming,” said feminist activist Lilián Abracinskas in Uruguay, a secular country where abortion, same-sex marriage and the marijuana market were each legalised in the last decade.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america

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Young woman denied a legal abortion may take legal action against judge in Uruguay

Young woman denied a legal abortion may take legal action against judge in Uruguay
by Safe Abortion, March 3, 2017

A judge in the city of Mercedes, Soriano, has ruled against a woman having an abortion who was booked for the abortion on 23 February. The ruling came after her ex–partner tabled an amparo asking the court to delay the abortion so that he could challenge her decision. The judge agreed to hear the case and then assigned a solicitor for the fetus, who was permitted to question the woman about her reasons for seeking an abortion. The judge then refused the abortion. The case caused a wave of reaction from political organisations and women’s groups who support the 2012 reform of the abortion law.

Margarita Percovich, a former senator and driving force behind the 2012 law reform, explained to PáginaI12: “The decision of the judge was clearly unconstitutional because the ruling was not based in existing law and did not comply with existing regulations on abortion”.

The woman is 24 years old and was 10 weeks pregnant when the case was heard. The lawyer for the young woman said he felt “a profound personal and professional outrage” at the ruling of the judge, and appealed the ruling. The appeal would have to have been heard within 10 days as the law permits abortion on request only up to 12 weeks. It was thought the case might end up in the Supreme Court.

However, on 1 March El Observador reported that the woman had had a miscarriage. Her solicitor stated that she had been under a huge amount of stress because of the case and confirmed that there was firm medical evidence that the miscarriage was spontaneous.

On 2 March, El Observador reported that the woman will take legal action against the judge who denied her an abortion, in order to prevent other women having to go back to the backstreets for illegal abortions. She said: “These last weeks have been absolutely terrible; the whole world wanted to have an opinion about my body.”

In a statement published on 25 February, before the woman miscarried, Lilián Abracinskas, director of Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (MYSU), who have been supporting the woman throughout the case, said that the court did not have the right to intervene in the woman’s decision: “It is clearly stipulated in the law that no one can interfere in the decision of the woman, from any side. The court has tried to reopen a debate that ended in 2012 and made a ruling that is not in accordance with the letter of the law, nor permitted to the man involved. It is not in the power of the court to rewrite the law. When a judge seeks to use their powers to impose their own beliefs and ideology, we have a very serious problem.”

Her biggest concern was that this was an attempt to set a precedent for men who want to influence women’s decisions and use the courts to take control over women’s bodies. “It is not a coincidence that this case has arisen in Soriano, which is one of the last bastions of resistance to the 2012 abortion law. In that part of the country, 100% of gynaecologists are conscientious objectors,” she said.

SOURCES: El Observador, 2 March 2017 ;  El Observador, 1 March 2017 ;  Páginal12, by Jeremías Batagelj, 25 February 2017. VISUAL: El Observador ; SEE ALSO: Espectador, 24 February 2017 (todos en español)

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/young-woman-denied-a-legal-abortion-may-take-legal-action-against-judge-in-uruguay/

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