Abortion advocates reeling from the end of Roe v. Wade can look to Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina for perspective, strategy, and hope.
Winter 2023, Bodies: In Depth
BY TINA VASQUEZ
NOV 21, 2022
The abortion rights movement in the United States is in the fight of its life. Although the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization gave advance notice that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision was still a devastating blow. In the months since, the situation has only become more dire for people in need of abortion care. As of October 2022, abortion is banned or severely restricted in 15 states, with 11 additional states and territories threatening to restrict or eliminate access.
As a result, people needing abortions in the U.S. are looking everywhere to find health care—including across the border.
Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Nov 14, 2022
BOGOTA – When convicted murderer Teodora Vasquez was freed after more than a decade in prison, the Salvadoran single mother faced a whole new challenge – a teenage son she barely recognized, a wall of rejection and a digital world she didn’t get.
Plus no way to make ends meet. “I had to start with nothing,” Vasquez recalled.
Access to abortion in U.S. territories post-Dobbs is just as difficult as before, and those concerns aren’t even a discussion within the mainstream reproductive rights movement
by Cecille Joan Avila
November 7th, 2022
In June, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively eliminating the federal right to abortion, but in Guam, it’s been four years since the last surgical abortion provider retired, leaving the small island territory without anyone who can perform the procedure. Pregnant people seeking an abortion can either receive abortifacients by mail, or, if they are beyond the timeframe where it’s possible to have a medication abortion, they have to travel to Hawai‘i. That is only feasible if they have the means to—and many do not.
For many in U.S. territories, getting an abortion hasn’t just depended on the procedure being legal. People have had to rely on community networks and whatever resources were available to get or pay for an abortion. The common factor is that in U.S. territories, they need to know the right people to ask for assistance, information, and resources, which is ultimately an unsustainable way to access a key component of reproductive health.
Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on making abortions accessible
By MARÍA TERESA HERNÁNDEZ - Associated Press
Nov 4, 2022
OAXACA, Mexico (AP) — Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on preserving access to abortion. To a remarkable extent, that’s also the case in America’s southern neighbor, Mexico.
Ten of Mexico’s 32 states have decriminalized abortion — most of them in just the past three years. Even in some of those 10 states, for example Oaxaca, abortion-rights activists say they face persisting challenges in trying to make abortion safe, accessible and government-funded.
The move comes about a year after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that penalising abortion was unconstitutional.
Published On 26 Oct 2022
The Mexican state of Quintana Roo has voted to decriminalise abortion, becoming the latest area to ease restrictions on the procedure as part of a “green wave” demanding greater reproductive rights across Latin America.
Nineteen lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favour with three against, approving a change in the law that would decriminalise abortion for women up to 12 weeks pregnant and remove a requirement for rape victims to report their abuser to access abortion.
By Julian J. Giordano, Asher J. Montgomery
Oct 24, 2022
Supreme Court justices from Mexico and Colombia, Alfredo Guitérrez Oritz Mena and Natalia Ángel Cabo, discussed abortion rights in their respective countries at a panel hosted on Friday by the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School.
The panelists discussed decisions issued by the Supreme Courts of both Mexico and Colombia in the last two years that expanded abortion access. In September 2021, the Supreme Court in Mexico ruled in September 2021 that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion as a crime. Colombia’s top court issued a ruling in February that legalized abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Amid legal and medical risks, a growing army of activists is funneling pills from Mexico into states that have banned abortion
By Caroline Kitchener
October 18, 2022
Monica had never used Reddit before. But sitting at her desk one afternoon in July — at least 10 weeks into an unwanted pregnancy in a state that had banned abortion — she didn’t know where else to turn.
“I need advice I am not prepared to have a child,” the 25-year-old wrote from her office, once everyone else had left for the day. She titled her post, “PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!”
BY ALICIA FÀBREGAS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAHÉ ELIPE
October 14, 2022
It’s 1 a.m., and Crystal can’t sleep. She is in a hotel room in Monterrey, Mexico, and she is thinking about a meeting tomorrow where she will speak in front of US representatives from North Carolina, New Mexico, and Texas and senators from Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. All of these officials are Democrats, some come from activist backgrounds, and they are visiting Monterrey in order to learn how networks of women in the north of Mexico are helping other women—including women who live in the US—to get safe abortions.
For six years, Crystal, who asked that we only use her first name, has been an acompañanta, a member of a network of Mexican women that informs and supports other women throughout the abortion process. The acompañantas’ goal is to prevent any woman from feeling alone when facing the obstacles—legal and otherwise—of ending a pregnancy. Crystal gets up and opens her laptop to refine her speech. She reads it out loud several times to practice. She wants to be able to look her audience in the eyes.
Stephania Taladrid reports on a network of volunteers distributing abortion medication to women in states that ban the procedure. Plus, Andrew Sean Greer on his new novel, “Less Is Lost.”
With David Remnick
October 14, 2022
Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the contributor Stephania Taladrid has been following a network of women who are secretly distributing abortion pills across the United States. The network has its roots in Mexico, where some medications used for at-home abortion are available at a lower cost over the counter. Volunteers—they call themselves “pill fairies”—are sourcing the pills at Mexican pharmacies and bringing them over the border. The work is increasingly perilous: in states like Texas, abetting an abortion is considered a felony, carrying long prison sentences. But, to Taladrid’s sources, it’s imperative. “I mean, there’s nothing else to do, right?” one woman in Texas, who had an abortion using the medication she received from a pill fairy, said. “You can’t just lie down and accept it. You can’t.”
October 3, 2022
The day after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a representative in the Puerto Rican legislature introduced a bill punishing "the crime of abortion" with 99 years in jail.
The bill was withdrawn the same day it was introduced, but it represents renewed interest in greatly restricting abortion in Puerto Rico after the Supreme Court threw out its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protected abortion rights.