The scale of the health emergency led to restrictions and closures in reproductive health services for months. Artwork by Leila Arenas
International Campaign for Safe Abortion
May 21, 2021
With health systems focused on containing the virus, women have experienced severe hardships when trying to access reproductive health services, such as perinatal care, contraceptive methods and safe abortion services. The monitoring carried out in nine countries in the region is showing that these limitations have led to an increase in maternal deaths. Just in Peru, 433 expectant mothers passed away between January and December of 2020, a number not seen in a decade. This year, more than 90 deaths have been registered up to March 9th. If we continue on this path, specialists asked warn, the indicators could be even worse than those reported during the first few months of the pandemic.
By Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent
March 4, 2021
When Argentina's Congress voted to legalise abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy, Renata (not her real name) felt excited.
"How cool," the 20-year-old from
northern Brazil remembers thinking in late December. A student and supermarket
worker, Renata saw it as the start of something new in a region where abortion
is mostly illegal.
But she thought little more of it until a
week later, when she found out she was pregnant herself. Then, she says, her
David Biller, Almudena Calatrava and Tatiana Pollastri - The Associated Press
Published Thursday, January 7, 2021
RIO DE JANEIRO -- With her 21st birthday fast approaching, Sara left the home she shares with her mother for her first trip on a plane. She didn't tell her family the real reason she'd taken out a loan for 5,000 Brazilian reais (US$1,000).
Two days later and several hundred miles away, a 25-year-old woman packed a backpack in her one-bedroom Sao Paulo apartment and left for the airport with her boyfriend.
Both women were bound for the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, seeking something forbidden in Brazil: an abortion.
Years of campaigning for women’s rights and against domestic violence have paid off and other countries in the region could now follow suit, Lucinda Elliott writes
Wednesday January 06 2021
Graça, a 24-year-old Brazilian medical student, is booked on a flight to Argentina this week to have an abortion. Nearly ten weeks pregnant, she has secured a procedure in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, more than 1,800 miles away from Minas Gerais state university, where she is studying for a degree.
For Graça, neither supporting a baby nor having a legal termination is a viable option in Brazil, where the draconian abortion law dates back to 1940. She is on a scholarship and to make some money for the journey she has been baking and selling cupcakes.
The Organization for World Peace
January 4, 2021
by Catherine Kreider
Argentina entered the new year with the national legalization of abortion, making it the sixth and most populace Latin American country to decriminalize pregnancy termination. Argentina joined the relatively small group of pro-abortion countries in the primarily Catholic region of the world, abolishing section 86 of its 1921 criminal code that only allowed for legal abortions in the case of rape and if the pregnancy was health risk-averse to the mother. As Pope Francis’s birthplace, Argentina’s transition towards legalizing abortion marks a significant societal shift within Latin America towards expanding women’s reproductive rights. The 1 January 2021 vote to legalize abortion followed years of campaigning by woman’s rights groups, with the movement for legal abortion becoming particularly widespread throughout the country after a series of brutal femicides, including the murder of a 14-year-old pregnant girl in 2015.
Resistance to the issue in Congress is increasing with the efforts of President Jair Bolsonaro.
By Oliver Mason
December 31, 2020
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - While the Argentine Senate on Wednesday, December 30th, passed a law validating women's right to abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy, the issue is facing opposition from conservative and religious legislators in the Brazilian Congress.
The assessment of legislators heard by Folha newspaper is that, within the current context, there is no room for legislation similar to the neighboring country to progress in the National Congress.
By Ana Ionova, Rio de Janeiro
Oct 14, 2020
Paloma had just cobbled together enough money for a clandestine abortion when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered much of Brazil.
The 27-year-old had been raped late last year by an ex-boyfriend who remained a close family friend. The mother of two found out she was pregnant a few weeks later, after moving from her native Bahia to Minas Gerais, a nearby state, for work.
"I didn't know what to do," recalls Paloma. "The only thing I was certain of was that I didn't want this child."
Reporting Rape Survivors to Police Can Endanger Their Health
September 21, 2020
Human Rights Watch
Brazilian authorities should revoke a Health Ministry regulation that erects
new barriers to legal abortion access, Human Rights Watch said today.
Among other measures in the August 27, 2020 regulation that could discourage
women and girls from accessing legal abortion, it requires medical personnel to
report to the police anyone who seeks legal termination of a pregnancy after
rape, regardless of the rape survivor’s wishes. The Ministry of Family, Women,
and Human Rights has also announced it will create a hotline for medical
personnel that could be used to report women and girls whom they suspect had an
Lise Alves, The Lancet
WORLD REPORT| VOLUME 396, ISSUE 10254, P808, SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
Experts say that the new rules for health workers will discourage access to health services and increase the risk of unsafe abortion. Lise Alves reports from São Paulo.
An ordinance passed by Brazil's Health Ministry at the end of August, 2020, related to abortion has led to widespread criticism by doctors. Under the new rules, medical staff must report rapes to police and health workers must offer the patient a chance to see the embryo or fetus via ultrasound before abortion.
11 Sep 2020
by Sonia Corrêa
Since 1940, Brazilian law has permitted abortion in cases of rape, and sexual intercourse with persons under 14 years old is automatically defined as rape. In 1999, the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s issued the Technical Protocol orienting Care for Victims of Sexual Violence (MoH Protocol), considered by WHO as a main global reference for sexual and reproductive health policies. Though revised in 2005 and 2012, its content has not been substantially altered.
8th, 2020, the Brazilian press reported the case of a 10-year-old girl who
became pregnant after being raped by her uncle, who lived with her, and her
grandmother in the municipality of São Mateus, state of Espírito Santo
(neighboring Rio de Janeiro). After suffering from abdominal pains, the
girl was taken to a local hospital. She told the medical team that she had been
abused since she was 6 years old.