The end of constitutional protection for abortion in the United States on Friday polarized activists around the world, emboldening opponents of abortion even as abortion rights advocates feared it could threaten recent moves toward legalization in their countries. countries.
The reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court “shows that these kinds of rights are always at risk of being crushed,” said Ruth Zurbriggen, an Argentine activist and member of the Companion Network of Latin America and the Caribbean, a pro-rights group. to abortion.
But in El Salvador, anti-abortion activist Sara Larin expressed hope that she will drive campaigns against the procedure around the world.
I am confident that with this ruling abortion can be abolished in the United States and throughout the world, said Larn, president of Fundación Vida SV.
In Kenya, Phonsina Archane watched the news of the ruling on Friday and said she froze for a moment in a state of panic.
This is being done in the United States, which should be an example as far as the women’s rights movement is concerned, said Archane, an abortion rights activist.
If this is happening in America, what about me here in Africa? It’s a very, very sad day.
He worried that the ruling would embolden abortion opponents across Africa who have attacked reproductive health clinics or threatened attacks. There is no safe place on the mainland, he said.
Abortion in sub-Saharan Africa is already more unsafe than in any other region of the world, and the overwhelming majority of women of childbearing age live in countries where abortion laws are highly or moderately restricted, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a new York-based research organization that supports abortion rights.
Archane said civil society groups in Africa will now come together to strategize on how to keep themselves and women safe.
Just a few months ago, many saw hope when the World Health Organization released guidelines on quality abortion care, saying: We had one step forward, and now we have to take five steps back again.
Meanwhile, the decision set social media ablaze in Argentina, where a law that legalized elective abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy took effect in January 2021 after years of debate.
Anti-abortion activists applauded Friday’s ruling, with lawmaker Amalia Granata tweeting: There is justice in the world again. We are going to achieve this in Argentina too!!
Meanwhile, in more conservative countries like El Salvador, where abortions are illegal no matter the circumstances and where some 180 women with obstetric emergencies have been criminally prosecuted in the last two decades, Larin warned that the ruling could inspire even more efforts to relax. abortion restrictions. Outside the United States.
Campaigns promoting abortion may intensify in our countries because funding and abortion clinics in the United States are going to close as they have been in recent years,” he said.
The UN agency that deals with sexual and reproductive health says that, whether or not abortion is legal, it happens too often and global data shows that restricting access makes abortion more deadly.
The United Nations Population Fund issued a statement following the Supreme Court decision, noting that its 2022 report revealed that almost half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, and more than 60 percent of those pregnancies can end in abortion.
A staggering 45 per cent of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, making them one of the leading causes of maternal death, UNFPA said.
The agency said nearly all unsafe abortions now occur in developing countries, and it fears more unsafe abortions could occur around the world if access to abortion becomes more restricted.
In the only part of Latin America directly affected by the ruling, Puerto Rico, the island’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban abortions after 22 weeks, or when a doctor determines a fetus is viable. with the sole exception if a woman’s life is in danger.
The bill is now before the island’s House of Representatives.
Dr. Migna Rivera García, president of the Association of Psychologists of Puerto Rico, said the US Supreme Court ruling has led abortion rights activists to reformulate their strategy.
It causes a lot of uncertainty given the environment right now in Puerto Rico, he said. This bill hurts poor black women the most. … They do not have access to services like other social groups.
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