Andorra: Acquittal of activist who raised concerns about total abortion ban at a UN meeting “an important victory”

Amnesty International
Jan 17, 2024

The acquittal of abortion rights activist, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, on defamation charges is an important victory but she should never have been charged in the first place, said Amnesty International following a court decision today.

In a joint public statement with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, Women’s Link Worldwide and Front Line Defenders the organisations welcome today’s decision acquitting Vanessa Mendoza Cortés and remind the authorities that she should face no further intimidation or reprisals for carrying out her important and legitimate human rights work.


Andorra: Activist on trial for raising concerns about total abortion ban at UN meeting

December 1, 2023
Amnesty International

Abortion rights activist, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, should have never been charged with a crime or put on trial for defending human rights, said Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Women’s Link ahead of her defamation trial on Monday.

Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, President of Stop Violence (Stop Violències), a civil society organisation, was charged with criminal defamation after voicing concerns about Andorra’s total abortion ban at a meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to examine the country’s record on women’s rights in 2019.


Andorra – This tiny country is home to Europe’s toughest abortion ban

The micronation of Andorra, located in the mountains between Spain and France, takes a hard-line stance against abortion because its head-of-state is a Catholic bishop. But some Andorrans say it’s time for change.

The World
November 6, 2023

The principality of Andorra, located in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France, is one of the smallest, least-populated countries in Europe.

It’s also the only one with a total ban on abortions. Not only are abortions in Andorra illegal, but also a taboo, said Sandra, an Andorran who asked for anonymity due to fear of public exposure.


Andorran women take to the streets to demand that abortion is no longer a crime


As part of the International Day for the Right to Abortion [1], a demonstration was held in Andorra on 30 September. Around 150 activists responded to a call from the Stop Violències association, which is fighting for the decriminalization of abortion, which in Andorra is considered a crime, even after rape.

This small state, a "parliamentary theocracy" wedged between France and Spain, is governed by medieval legislation. Two co-princes decide on women’s right to control their own bodies: the Bishop of Urgell, a traditionalist opposed to abortion, and... the President of the French Republic.

Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, president of Stop Violències, has been taken to court by the Andorran president, Xavier Espot Zamora, for “defamation”.


Change is inevitable: people demand the human right to access safe abortion across Europe

Amnesty International
September 28, 2021

Europe has been at the forefront of the global trend towards the liberalization of abortion laws for more than 60 years. But there is still work to do to give all women and people who can become pregnant access to safe and legal abortion.

Almost all EU member states have now legalized abortion on request or on broad socio-economic grounds and, in the last few years, several European countries have enacted important progressive reforms or taken steps to remove harmful procedural and regulatory barriers that can impede access to abortion.


Andorra’s abortion rights revolution

Andorra’s abortion rights revolution
Push to legalize abortion could tip country into constitutional crisis, opponents say.

By Meg Bernhard

ENCAMP, Andorra — There were no demonstrations in Andorra, until feminist campaigners took to the streets.

For decades, the mountaintop microstate was synonymous with winter sports and tax-free shopping — not political protests. Wedged between Spain and France, the independent principality, one of the world’s smallest countries, has largely been spared the mass social movements that have rocked its neighbors.


The Last Places in Europe Where It’s Illegal to Get an Abortion

The Last Places in Europe Where It’s Illegal to Get an Abortion
European microstates are some of the richest countries on the continent, but human rights, including abortion, are curtailed.

by Sarah Souli; illustrated by Cathryn Virginia
Aug 19 2019

Lara hadn’t wanted to see the baby.

It wasn’t supposed to be hers, anyway; when she accidentally got pregnant at 18, she had decided the child would be raised by her aunt while she went off to university. The first few months of the pregnancy were normal: doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, the abrupt abandonment of cigarettes and beer. Then, around five months into her gestation, the pain and bleeding started. At the emergency room, a surprising diagnostic—fatally missed by her primary gynecologist—was announced. The baby was lacking two nerve bundles in its neck. A few days later, a second test with Lara’s gynecologist revealed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The baby, doctors briskly explained to Lara, would be born “a vegetable.”


ANDORRA – Member of Parliament calls on France to pressure Andorra re abortion

ANDORRA – Member of Parliament calls on France to pressure Andorra re abortion

Andorra is one of the last States in Europe, with Malta, San Marino and the Vatican, to prohibit abortion, including in cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly and risk to the life of the woman. Women from Andorra access abortion either in Spain or France, or by unsafe or clandestine methods.

Laurence Gayte is a Deputy in France for Pyrénées-Orientales, which borders with Andorra, a member of President Macron’s party En Marche, and a member of the delegation on the rights of women in the National Assembly. She asked the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to clarify the government’s position on the criminalisation of abortion in Andorra. President Macron is a co-prince of the principality. Even giving patients information or the address of a clinic abroad is against the law, Dr Eric Sylvestre Dolsa told Agence France Presse, one of a few Andorran doctors openly backing legalisation, “no matter the reason” for ending the pregnancy.

For 28 September 2018, International Safe Abortion Day, women in Andorra “marched through the streets to demand the decriminalisation of abortion in their country and would like to know the position of France on this question”. The Spanish Bishop of Andorra, Urgell Mgr Joan-Enric Vives, is staunchly opposed to abortion and has threatened to abdicate if abortion is legalised, reported Elisa Muxella, head of Andorra’s Human Rights Institute. “The government is hiding behind this excuse, saying it would put our institutions in peril.”

The Vatican is also putting pressure on Andorra to stop abortion from being legalised. According to the Andorran press, Pope Francis phoned the head of government, Antoni Martí, to deliver a clear message – threatening to demand the abdication of the co-prince.

SOURCES: FranceBleu, 31 October 2018 ; FranceBleu, 8 November 2018

SEE ALSO: France24, 28 September 2018 ; Le Figaro, by AFP, 31 October 2018


Andorra, one of Europe’s last abortion holdouts

Andorra, one of Europe's last abortion holdouts

28 September 2018

Andorra is best known as a ski destination and tax haven -- but it's the tiny principality's status as one of Europe's last countries with an abortion ban that activists want to highlight on International Safe Abortion Day.

Even in cases of rape or when their lives are in danger, women in the country of 85,500 people nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, have no right to an abortion.


Latin America lagging behind on women’s rights

Latin America lagging behind on women’s rights

By Hugo Sánchez and Julia R. Arévalo | translated by Freya Kirk
Feb 19, 2018

Imprisoned for having an abortion, forced to keep a child born out of rape, pushed to commit suicide: women still pay a heavy price in Latin America, where several countries’ legislation greatly restricts abortion. EURACTIV’s partner Euroefe reports.

Women’s rights in South America were the main issue during a conference before the 10th Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT), held last September in El Salvador. El Salvador is now ranked as the most violent country in the world, mainly due to gang activities.