Reform of abortion law in Uruguay: context, process and lessons learned

Dec 19, 2016, by Safe Abortion


On October 22, 2012, Uruguayan President José Mujica signed into law the “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy” bill …which was the fruit of more than two decades of advocacy, led by feminist organizations in alliance with trade unions, student groups and other actors, including the medical sector and key political leaders.

Abortion reform in Uruguay has been the focus of several excellent studies. This article, based on a descriptive study of the context and political processes for abortion reform, aims to identify the strategies and facilitating factors that led to the legal reform and the limitations of the law, as well as to view the process through a political and feminist lens that draws attention to the limitations of the outcome from a women’s rights perspective. In our interpretation this law has not meant a full recognition of women’s autonomy, but rather a shift in the terms of state protection of women’s health, which reflects the strong influence of a public health or biomedical viewpoint.

Both the success of the legal reform and the persistence of state protection is understood through analysis of key actors’ discourses and interpretation of the social, cultural and political conditions of the Uruguayan context and of the legal reform process itself.

 Reproductive Health Matters, by Susan Wood, Lilián Abracinskas, Sonia Corrêa, Mario Pecheny, in press December 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.rhm.2016.11.006 + VISUAL

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