The US is poised to ban abortion; other countries ease access

While women in the United States are on the brink of losing their constitutional right to abortion, other courts around the globe have been working in the opposite direction.

The US is poised to ban abortion; other countries ease access

While women in the United States are on the brink of losing their constitutional right to abortion, other courts around the globe have been working in the opposite direction.

This includes a number traditional conservative societies, such as Colombia where, in February, the Constitutional Court legalized the procedure up to the 24th week. This is part of a wider trend in Latin America, which is heavily Catholic.

The leaked draft opinion, which suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, is not yet known.

For women's activists, who have for years led arduous campaigns for abortion access, often looking to the United States for a model, this is a disconcerting sign. It reminds them that hard-earned gains are not permanent.

The US is poised to ban abortion; other countries ease access

BOGOTA (AP) -- While women in the United States are on the brink of losing their constitutional right to abortion, other courts around the globe have been working in the opposite direction.

This includes a number traditional conservative societies, such as Colombia where, in February, the Constitutional Court legalized the procedure up to the 24th week. This is part of a wider trend in Latin America, which is heavily Catholic.

The leaked draft opinion, which suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, is not yet known.

For women's activists, who have for years led arduous campaigns for abortion access, often looking to the United States for a model, this is a disconcerting sign. It reminds them that hard-earned gains are not permanent.

"It's an awful precedent for both the region and the globe," stated Catalina Martinez Coral from Colombia, the Latin America and Caribbean director of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. This group was one of the ones that brought the case against Colombia's Supreme Court.

There was a February ruling that gave women the right to abortions during the 24-week period. Previously, they were restricted to certain cases like if a fetus had malformations or if the pregnancy was a result of rape. These special circumstances still allow for abortion to be performed after the 24-week period.

Although the advocates were disappointed that the decision did not result in a complete decriminalization of Colombia, Martinez Coral stated that it left Colombia with the "most advanced legal framework in Latin America."

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled last year that it was illegal to penalize abortion. It is the highest court in Mexico and its ruling bans all other jurisdictions from accusing women of a crime for ending a pregnancy.

Mexico's 32 states still have abortion laws. Nongovernmental organizations, which have long advocated for decriminalization, are urging the legislatures to repeal them. Mexico City and certain states already had abortion available.

In Argentina's south, lawmakers passed late 2020 a bill that legalized abortion up to the 14th Week and thereafter for situations similar to the Colombian ruling.

It is also available in large quantities in Uruguay and Cuba.

Mexico's 32 states still have abortion laws. Nongovernmental organizations, which have long advocated for decriminalization, are urging the legislatures to repeal them. Mexico City and certain states already had abortion available.

In Argentina's south, lawmakers passed late 2020 a bill that legalized abortion up to the 14th Week and thereafter for situations similar to the Colombian ruling.

It is also available in large quantities in Uruguay and Cuba.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, Latin America has limited abortion access to some countries. Brazil is the largest country in the region and allows only certain situations. This includes cases of rape, risk of death to the woman, and certified cases with the birth defect anencephaly. Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, the former President, is running for a new term in October. He recently stated that he views legalizing abortion as an issue of public health. This has drawn criticism from a country that doesn't approve of the procedure.

Others places are subject to total bans without exceptions. The latter sentence women to long imprisonment for aggravated murder even though they are suspected of miscarriage.

Although many African countries still have complete bans on abortion, Benin legalized it in October 2021 in most cases, up to 12 weeks. It was previously allowed in cases of incest, rape, risk to the life of the woman and severe fetal malformation.

Many European countries, including those that are dominated by Catholics, have legalized abortion. In 2018, Ireland followed closely by San Marino, which was approved in a referendum. It is still illegal in Andorra and Malta, but it was made legal in Vatican City and Vatican City. Last year, Poland tightened its abortion laws.

It has also been available in Israel since 1978.

The laws and their interpretations differ across the Muslim world.

While abortion has been legal in Tunisia up to 12 weeks for decades, it is illegal in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Al-Azhar, the head of Cairo's most prestigious institution of Islamic clergy, stated last year that abortion was not an option even for children who are likely to be severely ill or disabled.

The world will be watching as the U.S. Supreme Court makes its final decision, which is expected to happen in late June or early juillet.

"While the recent moves to legalize and decriminalize abortion in countries like Argentina, Ireland and Mexico have been a major win for the international community," Agnes Callamard (secretary-general of Amnesty International) stated in a statement that there are "dreadful signs that the United States has fallen behind the rest of the world in respect of protecting sexual and reproductive freedoms."

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS