With US poised to restrict abortion, other countries ease access | Women’s Rights News

When the Supreme Court of the United States appeared on the brink of possible overturned landmark ruling giving women the constitutional right to access abortion, courts in many other parts of the world has been moving in the opposite direction.

In February, the Constitutional Court of Colombia legal abortion until the 24th week of pregnancy, part of a broader trend seen in Catholic Latin American regions.

It is not yet clear what impact outside the US will be from the leak draft opinion suggested that the country’s highest court could overturn the 1973 mark Roe v Wade decide.

But for women activists who for many years have led campaigns for broad access to abortion, often take the United States as their model, which is a disheartening sign and a reminder that the gains are hard to come by. may be impermanent.

“It’s a terrible precedent in the coming years for the region and the world,” said Colombian Catalina Martinez Coral, Latin America and Caribbean Director of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups. sue the abortion case, said. in the Supreme Court of Colombia.

The February ruling there established a broad right for women to have an abortion within 24 weeks, whereas in the past they could only do so under specific circumstances, such as if the fetus had a birth defect. disability or pregnancy as a result of rape. Abortion is still allowed after that time in exceptional cases.

The decision hasn’t dashed advocates’ hopes of complete denomination, but Martinez Coral said it still leaves Colombia with “the most progressive regulatory framework in Latin America”.

Likewise, the Supreme Court of Mexico last year declared that Unconstitutional to punish abortion. As the country’s highest court, its ruling prohibits all jurisdictions from forcing a woman to commit an abortion.

However, regulations prohibiting abortion are still in the books in most of Mexico’s 32 states, and NGOs that have long promoted de-nominalization are pressing state legislatures to do so. reform them. Abortion is already available in Mexico City and some states.

To the south in Argentinalegislators at the end of 2020 passed a bill legalize abortion until week 14 and thereafter for similar cases as described in the Colombia ruling. It is also widely sold in Cuba and Uruguay.

female activist
In 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court declared that abortion was unconstitutional [File: Nick Wagner/AP]

But expanding access to abortion has not yet extended to the whole of Latin America, with many countries restricting it in certain circumstances – such as Brazil, the most populous country in the region, where allowed only in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s life and certified cases of brain birth defects.

Other places with total bans without exception, such as Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Later courts sentenced women to long prison terms for more serious murders.

Many African countries also maintain outright bans, but in October 2021 Benin legalized abortion in most cases up to 12 weeks. That greatly increases access to the safe procedure after the Health Secretary reported that nearly 200 women die each year from complications from secret abortions. In the past, abortion was allowed in cases of rape or incest, endangering the woman’s life, or severe fetal malformation.

Most European countries have legalized abortion, including those who are predominantly Catholic. Ireland did so in 2018, followed by tiny San Marino in a referendum last September. It remains illegal in Andorra, Malta and Vatican City, while Poland last year tightened its abortion laws.

It has also been widely available in Israel since 1978 and is relatively uncontroversial, authorized by law by week 24 with the approval of a hospital “termination committee” consisting of medical professionals in the field. there is at least one woman.

Abortion has been legal for up to 12 weeks in Tunisia for decades, but in Iran it has been banned since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Last year, the leader of Cairo’s top Muslim leadership organization, Al-Azhar, said abortion is not the solution even in cases where the child is likely to be seriously ill or disabled.

Opposing pro-abortion
In Uruguay, abortion is permitted and widely available, but Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador prohibit the procedure and are no exception. [File: Matilde Campodonico/AP]

In Japan, abortion is only allowed for economic and health reasons, and requires a partner’s consent, making Japan one of the few countries in the world to do so. Victims of unsolicited sexual violence.

Abortion has been legal in India since 1971. Women can terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks but only on the advice of a doctor. Under the 2021 changes, a woman can also have an abortion for up to 24 weeks under certain circumstances such as rape or incest, although this requires approval from two doctors.

China is turning to abortion restrictionbut that’s because it has one of the highest abortion rates in the world.

Last September, China’s cabinet, known as the State Council, published new national guidelines requiring hospitals to “reduce abortions that are not medically necessary”. In February, China’s family planning association announced it would launch a campaign to reduce teenage abortion.

When the US Supreme Court final decision circulated, expected late June or early July, the world will watch.

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