Increase in Maternal Deaths: The Silent Impact of Covid-19 on Latin America

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.


Latin America’s fight to legalise abortion: the key battlegrounds

Latin America's fight to legalise abortion: the key battlegrounds
After Argentina rejected a bill to allow abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, hopes of reform now rest elsewhere

Annie Kelly
Thu 9 Aug 2018

An estimated 6.5 million abortions take place across Latin America each year. Three-quarters of these procedures are unlawful, often performed in unsafe illegal clinics or at home.

Of 33 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, only Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana permit elective abortions. Women also have the right to choose in Mexico City. Elsewhere, however, the right to an abortion is severely restricted, with terminations often permitted in cases of rape, or if the pregnancy will endanger the life of the mother. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname all have a complete ban on 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.


Peru: New study on abortion pill shows high success, low rate of complications

New study on abortion pill shows high success, low rate of complications
by Ariana Eunjung Cha
January 11, 2018

Abortion is legally restricted in Peru, forcing women who want to end their pregnancies to seek other means. (Mariana Bazo/Reuters)

Ever since the abortion pill RU-486 began to hit the market in the 1980s, questions have lingered about its safety, especially for women who take it in countries where terminating an unwanted pregnancy is restricted and they cannot openly seek help from a medical professional if something goes wrong.

As reports of deaths and injuries grew in the early 2000s and the pill became a big political issue, studies were launched to try to get more data on the safety question. The results are starting to come out.

Continued at source:

Chile: the long road to abortion reform

Chile: the long road to abortion reform

August 25, 2017 6.51am EDT
Cordelia Freeman

Chile had one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the entire world. After years of campaigning, Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, has finally pushed through a bill that will allow the termination of a pregnancy in three cases – when the woman’s life is in danger, when a foetus is unviable, or in cases of rape.

Judges in the constitutional court ruled in favour by six to four in a vote that reflected the wider mood on the matter. Among the general public, 70% supported the bill.

Continued at source: The Conversation:

“Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign, Latin America

“Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign, Latin America

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
July 28, 2017

Planned Parenthood Global, Amnesty International, Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida Mexico (GIRE) and Latin American Campaign against Unsafe Abortion (CLACAI) have joined efforts to raise awareness on forced motherhood and its impact on girls’ lives and futures across Latin America through the “Niñas, No Madres” (Girls, Not Mothers) regional campaign.  The campaign calls for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and safe, legal abortion services to end forced motherhood in girls in Latin America.

In the framework of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, the campaign launched a call to women to share on social media what was their dream when they were girls, along with a childhood photo. The response was amazing: women from all over the region lit up social media with the hashtag #NiñasNoMadres. The timelines, full of cute pictures, brought attention to the toll that forced motherhood has taken on thousands of girls in the region. More than 40 national and international media outlets published pieces about the campaign, including Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and  AJ+.

Latin America is the only region in the world where births among girls under 15 years old is on the rise. Forced motherhood in girls is an urgent public health and human rights problem.

In Guatemala, five girls under the age of 14 become pregnant every day. In Nicaragua, the number of pregnant girls aged 10-14 years old increased 47% from 2001 to 2009. In Ecuador, pregnancy among girls under the age of 15 has increased by 74% in the last decade. In Peru, every year, more than 1,100 births are to girls 12-13 years old.

Planned Parenthood Global has produced the report “Stolen Lives” in English and Spanish, which summarizes qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru to document the dire physical, mental, and social health consequences of forced pregnancy on girls living in these countries. This report was used as input for the Hemispheric Report on Sexual Violence and Child Pregnancy recently released by the Organization of American States’ Committee of Experts of the Follow-Up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará Convention (MESECVI), which issues recommendations to States, including “ensuring that all pregnancies in girls are considered high risk and allowing legal termination of pregnancy.”

Join us in demanding a better future for girls in Latin America. Follow the campaign on Facebook @ninasnomadres and visit for more information.

SOURCE: Planned Parenthood Global, email 17 July 2017

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion:

How a UN Committee’s Ruling on Abortion in Ireland Holds Countries Accountable

How a UN Committee’s Ruling on Abortion in Ireland Holds Countries Accountable

Jan 27, 2017, 6:02pm Jamie J. Hagen

The case of Amanda Mellet, who had to leave Ireland to get an abortion due to a fatal fetal condition, has created a roadmap for advocates to call out the prohibition and criminalization of abortion by any country as a violation of human rights.

By now, the stories of people denied access to abortion in Ireland and facing financial, physical, and emotional hardships as a result are likely well known to reproductive rights advocates. Last year, for the first time, one Irish woman took it upon herself to appeal to the United Nations that, in being denied access to a safe and affordable abortion, her human rights were violated by the constitution of her home nation. The UN Human Rights Committee agreed that she faced “discrimination and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” because of Ireland’s ban on most abortions; in response, Ireland has paid her financial reparations. Now, her case has created a roadmap for advocates to call out the prohibition and criminalization of abortion by any country as a violation of human rights.

[continued at link]
Source, Rewire:

Looking at How Abortion Restrictions Endanger Women’s Lives

By Moira Donegan , December 1, 2016, New Yorker

In 2006, a Polish woman named Justyna heard a rumor about a new abortion pill. The thirty-year-old mother of three was eleven weeks along in a new pregnancy, and her marriage wasn’t going well. Abortion in Poland is illegal in most circumstances, but after several weeks she was able to get the pills. She took them at home, while her kids were down the hall. She didn’t tell anyone, not even her husband; she’s now divorced. “It took me two weeks to process all the feelings, but then I felt released,” she told the Spanish photographer Laia Abril. “I feel able to make my own decisions.”

[continued at link]

Source: New Yorker

Public health services in Peru to provide free emergency contraception

Public health services in Peru to provide free emergency contraception

by Safe Abortion

In an important step for reproductive rights, Peru has, for the first time, given the green light for medical personnel to offer free emergency contraception through the country’s health centres.

Health Minister Patricia Garcia – newly appointed under President Pedro Pablo Kuzcinksy and inaugurated last month – announced the decision Tuesday, saying that the pill will be offered free of charge within 30 days. The move comes in response to a recent court ruling that ordered the Ministry of Health to make the emergency contraceptive pill freely available across the country, especially in Peru’s poorest areas.

[continued at link]

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

For full, safe access to abortion without shame

News Observer, August 14, 2016 5:59 AM

By Manju Rajendran

Last fall, I had the opportunity to help facilitate a gathering of abortion-stigma workers from several countries across the world who converged in Peru to share findings and troubleshoot challenges in their work.

They were medical providers, researchers, popular educators, and community organizers, and they united through Inroads, an international network for the reduction of abortion discrimination and stigma. Through their stories, I learned about repressive conditions in homes, schools, hospitals, villages, cities and disaster zones.

As participants reported on projects in Central and South America, Africa and Asia, from many different faith and cultural traditions, I found myself reckoning with painful similarities with my community’s experience trying to access safe, legal, and affordable abortion care in North Carolina.

Here, too, we are constantly defending our right to make decisions about whether to carry a pregnancy to term, and fighting to protect our access to the reproductive health care we need without shame.

[continued at link]
Source: News Observer