By bus, car and plane, women journey across Latin America for abortions

By Marina Dias and Terrence McCoy
February 23, 2024

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — She’d taken an overnight bus from the countryside, then a train across the urban sprawl of São Paulo, and now she was staring out the plane window, head full of worry. There was a pink rosary in her pocket. But she didn’t see the point of praying. She feared she was a sinner, a criminal, and this trip, her first time out of Brazil, would be a secret she’d carry for the rest of her life.

Cristina was 35 years old. She was 11 weeks pregnant. She came from a conservative Christian family in a conservative Christian nation where abortion was largely illegal, so she’d decided to travel to a country where it was not and bring an end to the pregnancy she didn’t want.


Algorithmic Ad Blocking Limits Abortion Information In Colombia

Christine Ro
Dec 9, 2023

As a doctor, María M. Vivas never set out to become a technology expert. Unfortunately reproductive health is much more politicized than other branches of medicine. “Information is something that is very blocked in abortion rights,” Vivas notes. “That’s one of the access barriers.”

To keep up with the demand for online information about often-stigmatized topics, her organization – the Colombian network of sexual and reproductive health clinics Oriéntame – has had to become well versed in search engine optimization, keywords, and other aspects of website management.


Americas: Brazil can become the next country to step up to guarantee the right to abortion

Amnesty International
September 28, 2023

To mark International Safe Abortion Day on 28 September, Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“Despite the green wave’s numerous victories in the Americas over the last few years, the rights gained and the opportunities to expand abortion protections are under attack by anti-rights actors. The overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States last year was a wakeup call for the movement, reminding us once more that the fight to defend and expand our rights must be ongoing.”


Thousands of women march in Latin American cities calling for abortion rights

By Megan Janetsky & Debora Rey, The Associated Press
Sep 28, 2023

MEXICO CITY — The streets of cities across Latin America were bathed in green Thursday as tens of thousands of women marched to commemorate International Safe Abortion Day.

Latin American feminists have spent decades fighting to roll back strict prohibitions, although there are still few countries with a total ban, like El Salvador and Dominican Republic.


Winning the right to abortion: the revolution of Latin American women

When Roe v. Wade was repealed in the United States, decades of progress in the struggle for reproductive rights were threatened. But across the Western Hemisphere, the tide has recently been in favor of the right to choose, with the decriminalization of abortion in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico

Beatriz Guillén
SEP 10, 2023

Simone de Beauvoir once said: “Never forget that a political, economic or religious crisis will be enough for women’s rights to be questioned again. These rights are never to be taken for granted; you must remain vigilant throughout your life.” It was an omen. Such a situation occurred in June 2022, when the United States Supreme Court repealed the right to abortion in the country, 50 years after it was encoded into law.

The repeal of Roe v. Wade proved that changes in political or judicial power could put past victories into jeopardy. It dealt a blow to the decades of struggle; however, it failed to stem the tide throughout the Western Hemisphere. In Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, the justice systems have recently decriminalized the interruption of a pregnancy at the federal level. These rulings have emerged as beacons of hope in the defense of women’s reproductive rights in the Americas.


Colombia: Abortion Rights Under Threat

July 3, 2023

Regina Tamés, Deputy Director, Women's Rights Division – Human Rights Watch
Mauricio Albarracín-Caballero, Deputy Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program

Colombia has attracted a lot of attention in the news over the past year for being the country that offers the best protection for abortion rights in Latin America. In February 2022 we celebrated the landmark ruling of Colombia’s Constitutional Court, which decriminalized abortion on all grounds up to week 24 of pregnancy and ordered health care providers to guarantee access to abortion services. The Court also confirmed that abortion will continue to be legal after 24 weeks where the pregnancy poses a risk to the health or life of the pregnant person, is non-viable or is the result of rape. These exceptions were introduced by the Constitutional Court in 2006.

But now the topic of abortion rights is back in the headlines in Colombia and not for the right reasons. The past few days have seen the spread of confusion and misinformation about recent rulings that could pose a threat to access to abortion. The Fourth Review Chamber of the Constitutional Court recently ruled on two tutela actions (T-158 from 2023 and T-430 from 2022) in a manner which could undermine full access to abortion services, contradicting last year’s ruling of the Full Chamber.


New court ruling threatens women’s right to abortion in Colombia

Bogotá - JUN 14, 2023

Women’s groups in Colombia are concerned about how a recent ruling from the Constitutional Court may affect the right to abortion. The sentence, dated May 15 but made public on Friday, concerns a young indigenous woman who had been denied an abortion by her public health center. While the judges sided with the woman, the ruling — known as T-158 from 2023 — stated: “It is not possible to assert the fundamental right to abortion.”

This has set off alarm bells in Colombia, as it goes against previous rulings by the Constitutional Court, which found that women do have a constitutional right to abortion, although it may be in conflict with other rights. In 2006, the Constitutional Court reached a seminal decision on the matter, decriminalizing abortion in cases of physical or mental risk to the mother, fetal malformation and rape. In February 2022, the women’s movement scored another victory, when the nine-member court legalized abortion to the 24th week of pregnancy. This was achieved after a long internal debate among the judges, and a very tight 5-4 vote in favor of decriminalization.

Having Won the Right to Abortion, Colombian Activists Are Pressing Health Facilities to Deliver

In February, Colombia introduced one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world after activists took to the courts – but now their challenge lies in ensuring the health system is in a position to offer terminations.

Juanita Rico

Not long ago, abortion in Colombia was a taboo topic that could not be mentioned during dinners or family gatherings, according to Florence Thomas, one of Colombia’s feminism most influential voices.

“It was considered such a difficult subject that people would stand up and leave my lectures when I touched upon it,” Thomas told Health Policy Watch.


Mexican, Colombian Supreme Court Justices Discuss Path to Abortion Rights at Petrie-Flom Center Forum

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.


What is the Geneva Consensus, the anti-abortion group from which Colombia withdrew

Currently, more than 30 countries are part of this agreement. Colombia had joined since May 2022

By Nick Quaz
August 23, 2022

The Vice Ministry of Multilateral Affairs of the Foreign Ministry announced this Monday through a statement that the Colombian government officially withdrew from the 'Declaration of the Geneva Consensus', a group of nations that expressly opposed abortion.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby informs that the Government of Colombia has decided to rescind its adherence to the Geneva Consensus Declaration as of the date of this communication,” the Foreign Ministry said in a letter.