Consultants mentioned altering social, cultural, and political norms on abortion entry in Latin America at a digital panel hosted by Harvard’s David Rockefeller Heart for Latin American Research on Tuesday.
The panel — a part of the Heart’s Fall 2021 Tuesday Seminar Collection — featured College of Sussex Analysis Fellow Camilla Reuterswärd, Mount Holyoke School Professor Cora Fernandez Anderson, and Harvard Sociology Professor Jocelyn Viterna, who spoke about abortion entry in Mexico, Argentina, and El Salvador, respectively.
In Mexico, every of the nation’s 32 states has jurisdiction over its abortion insurance policies. The variation throughout the nation — attributable to partisan politics and the energy of non secular establishments — “largely mirrors” variations all through Latin America, defined Reuterswärd.
“The depth of electoral competitors and the ideological positions of get together rivals work together with the energy of the Catholic Church hierarchies in a given state to compel events to pursue coverage reform,” she mentioned.
Regardless of a call by the Mexican Supreme Courtroom final month that criminalizing abortion is unconstitional, challenges to abortion entry in Mexico stay, together with enforcement and retaliation, which has occurred up to now, Reuterswärd mentioned.
The decriminalization of abortion in Mexico Metropolis in 2007, for instance, “ushered in a flurry” of right-to-life amendments in different states, she mentioned.
In Argentina, lawmakers handed laws in December 2020 that legalized abortion within the first 14 weeks of gestation. Fernandez Anderson lauded the nation’s prominant feminist activists because the “most important drive” behind the change.
“Activists actually understood the get together system and realized that they might make the most of the truth that all of the events truly have been divided on the problem of abortion,” she defined. “They started constructing this multiparty coalition, which was undoubtedly a lot more durable, it took for much longer.”
“The emergence of a powerful social motion round abortion reform was capable of shift the unfavourable perceptions related to this apply,” Fernandez Anderson added.
In El Salvador, discussions about abortion didn’t start till the Nineties, Viterna mentioned. Worldwide influences — such because the politicization of abortion by Republicans in the US — launched anti-abortion language to the nation, she defined.
In 1997, the nation’s legal code banned abortion in each scenario, and in 1999, a constitutional modification outlined life as starting at conception.
With particular person tales, Viterna demonstrated the tangible penalties of abortion bans. A pregnant lady who skilled stomach ache and unintentionally delivered her child right into a latrine was later accused of abortion — a cost that was escalated to tried aggravated murder and led to her serving 12.5 years in jail, she mentioned.
“The fact is that life begins at conception in El Salvador, and if life begins at conception, then it’s actually arduous to inform the distinction between abortion and homicide, particularly when abortion has no definition within the regulation,” Viterna mentioned.
Following the displays, Authorities professor and DRCLAS Director Steven Levitsky moderated a 30 minute question-and-answer session. Viterna famous the significance of social class in entry to abortions as a caveat relevant to Mexico, Argentina, and El Salvador.
Future seminars within the collection at DRCLAS will concentrate on populism, technocracy, and protest.