The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on countries in the Americas to reinforce protections for women and girls seeking abortions, after observing measures that “have gone backwards” last year. “Both material and formal measures were observed to go backwards in the guarantee of reproductive rights free of all forms of violence and discrimination,” the IACHR said in a statement.
El Salvador stands out, IACHR said, for as high as 30- and 50-year sentences for homicide even though activists say the women had suffered miscarriages. El Salvador has some of the world’s harshest anti-abortion laws, bans all terminations even if the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life, or results from rape or incest. Even in countries where abortion is partially legal, the IACHR said, girls and teens who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest faced difficulties accessing healthcare.
In Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama, medical and legal professionals helping provide access to abortions permitted under national laws also faced threats of legal action, according to the IACHR.
While many US states protect access to abortion, the IACHR highlighted the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which for close to half a century established a constitutional right to abortion.
At the same time, the IACHR praised Colombia’s decriminalization of abortion through 24 weeks of gestation last February, as well as moves by several Mexican states, including southern Quintana Roo, to allow abortion within a set number of weeks. Quintana Roo borders Guatemala, which has hardened punishments for women who have an abortion to up to 25 years in jail.
Many of these facts are far from new, but what is new is that the IACHR is speaking out on them like this.
SOURCE: NBC News, by Reuters, 1 February 2023 + PHOTO, 28 September 2022, by Camilo Freedman / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images file