Hundreds of thousands of women flooded the streets across Latin America, demanding decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion
ECUADOR PHOTO: Hundreds demonstrate in Quito, EFE/Jose Jacome
Quito was the scene of demonstrations under the slogans of “free, legal and safe abortion”. Among the participants was the president of the Federation of Secondary Students of Ecuador, Dayana Basantes, who criticised the government for not offering information about abortion in cases of rape, after its historic decriminalisation last year. Basantes also reproached the executive for the series of conditions introduced into the regulations by conservative President Guillermo Lasso, in order to access abortion due to rape with requirements such as having previously filed a complaint and doing so within the first 12 weeks, instead of the 18 exception for some cases such as for adolescents.
Activists from the Feminist Assembly denounced the total criminalization of abortion as the “greatest expression of violence” against women, who can be accused of aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison, even in cases of miscarriage. Activist Liseth Alas pointed out the need to move forward to achieve “legislation that allows safeguarding the life and health of girls and women in the country.” For this reason, the “Girls, Not Mothers” initiative was presented, demanding the termination of pregnancy in cases of sexual violence against minors under 18 years of age.
There were questions about how the State will treat the case of a girl, a victim of sexual violence by a member of the Armed Forces, if she also faces a forced pregnancy, a situation that has generated concern and criticism for its handling and the lack of protection for children.
Amid an intense debate in Brazil, feminists marched through the main cities to support the right to terminate a pregnancy. The largest protest took place in São Paulo, where people occupied part of Paulista Avenue, demanding that abortion be treated as a public health issue. The controversy over abortion has become especially relevant in the country after Supreme Federal Court President Rosa Weber voted for it to be legalised until the 12th week of pregnancy, just before retiring. Now it faces both the Supreme Court, which is considering decriminalisation [up to 12 weeks], and conservative lawmakers, who are seeking to ban it entirely, including supporters of Bolsonaro.
Maré verde no Brasil
São Paulo recebeu uma enxurrada de mulheres que marcaram o Dia Latino-Americano e Caribenho de Luta pela Legalização do Aborto na América Latina e Caribe com um ato pela legalização do aborto, nesta quinta (28).#BrasildeFato https://t.co/CaFLdRGQ87 pic.twitter.com/meeNLEgTh7
Hundreds of women gathered in the centre of Santiago to defend the current law on termination of pregnancy against the “risks” of the current constitutional draft proposal set for a December referendum, promoted by the Republican Party, which seeks to repeal it. Minister of Women and Gender Equality Antonia Orellana pointed out that repealing the three causes contemplated by the law – risk to the mother, a nonviable fetus, and rape – would be a “serious setback for the sexual and reproductive rights of women.” They also demanded expansion of abortion rights.
Eso lo decido yo!
CHILE: VIDEO Javiera Manzi A. (@JavieraManzi) September 28, 2023 – 1457 likes, 74.3K views
In Argentina, there is growing concern for proposals that could set back abortion rights won two years ago, and against which thousands of women and feminist groups marched on 28 September. With slogans such as “To confront fascism, more feminism,” the activists showed their rejection of the proposals of right-wing candidates for the presidency of the country, who also threatened to suppress institutions such as the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity and called a plebiscite on the abortion law.
In Venezuela, a demonstration was held in front of the National Assembly in Caracas on 28 September of almost 100 people, including Venezuelan activists and NGOs, who participated in a “green rally” in front of the headquarters of parliament in Caracas to demand the legalisation of abortion. Attendees chanted slogans and held up placards with messages demanding that the termination of pregnancy be “legal, safe and free,” “Neither imprisoned for aborting, nor killed for trying,” “Being a mother is a decision, not an imposition,” “Religion out of our ovaries,” “To be in favour of abortion does not mean having an abortion,” “No more clandestine abortions,” read some of the placards.