Americas Desk, Sep 28 (EFE).- The Day for Decriminalization and Legalization of Abortion drew demonstrations all over Latin America on Thursday to address a lack of protection in countries such as El Salvador, fear of losing rights in Argentina, intense political debates in Brazil and progress in Mexico.
Hundreds of people demonstrate in Quito, Ecuador, 28 September 2023. EFE/Jose Jacome
In El Salvador, 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 interruption 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 its main cities to support the right to terminate 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 legalized until the 12th week of pregnancy, just before retiring. Now it faces both the Supreme Court, which is considering decriminalization, and conservative lawmakers, who are seeking to ban it entirely.
The latter, mainly linked to evangelical churches and the extreme right led by former president Jair Bolsonaro, called for a referendum on the prohibition of abortion, claiming the majority of polls on the matter indicate that more than half of the population is against it.
Women participate in the march of the global day of action for access to legal, safe and free abortion, in Mexico City, Mexico, 28 September 2023. EFE/Sáshenka Gutiérrez
Meanwhile, hundreds of women gathered in the center of Santiago to defend the law on termination of pregnancy against the “risks” of the current constitutional proposal, promoted by the Republican Party, which seeks to repeal the abortion law in force in Chile.
Minister of Women and Gender Equality Antonia Orellana pointed out that repealing the three causes contemplated by the law – risk to the mother, fetal inviability and rape – would be a “serious setback in the sexual and reproductive rights of women.”
In Argentina there is also concern for proposals that could set back abortion rights won two years ago after a complex process, and against which thousands of women and feminist groups in Argentina marched Thursday.
With slogans such as “To confront fascism, more feminism,” the activists showed their rejection of the proposals of conservative candidates for the presidency of the country, such as those of the libertarian Javier Milei, leader of the polls, who threatened to suppress institutions such as the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity and calling a plebiscite on the abortion law.
The Ecuadorian capital was the scene of another 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 criticized the government for not offering information about abortion in cases of rape, after its historic decriminalization 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 adolescents.
Along the same lines, almost 100 people, including Venezuelan activists and NGOs, participated in a “green rally” in front of the headquarters of parliament in Caracas to demand the legalization of abortion.
Attendees chanted slogans and held up posters 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,” and “Religion out of our ovaries,” read some of the posters. EFE