“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.