A region with some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws has started to tentatively move in the opposite direction
By Emiliano Rodríguez Mega
on January 4, 2022
As the U.S. braces for the possible rollback of abortion rights later this year, seismic shifts are happening south of the border. A series of recent legal and legislative decisions has begun to loosen restrictions in Latin America, a region with some of the world’s harshest antiabortion laws. And they could chart a path toward reform for governments that still advocate for the procedure to remain illegal. The health and economic consequences of keeping longtime bans in place may provide cautionary lessons for the U.S. as a Supreme Court decision to scrap Roe v. Wade appears to be imminent.
El Salvador has stood out for its aggressive pursuit of pregnant people who seek an abortion or have a miscarriage. Since 1998 the country has upheld a total ban on abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and high-risk pregnancy. As a result, about 181 women were prosecuted between 2000 and 2019 for getting an abortion or suffering an obstetric emergency, according to data compiled by a human rights group.