Thousands of women rallied across Latin America for abortion rights

The right to access legal, safe and free abortions is being demanded by thousands of women across Latin America.

CW: rape

Global Day of Climate Action saw thousands of women join protests across Latin America, demanding abortion rights in countries that currently hold some of the world’s strictest anti-abortion laws.

On September 28, marches fighting for abortion rights took place in Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Colombia.

One of the pro-abortion rallies in Caracas, Venezuela.
Image: Reuters

Specifically in Chile’s capital of Santiago, large groups of demonstrators gathered where Congress agreed to host future debates on abortion laws.

Demonstrators held banners and signs that read, “it is my right to decide” and “legal abortion for health and life.”

While in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas, demonstrators marched downtown with organisations from neighbouring states.

The demonstrations in Mexico City were accompanied by a heavy police presence, as protestors painted fences and sprayed riot policewomen who were holding fire extinguishers.

The Mexico Supreme Court recently decided to rule out a local law that criminalised women who seek abortions – but this new law did not instantly take effect.

Women protesting abortion rights in Mexico City
Image: Reuters

Outside the Palace of Justice in Peru’s capital Lima, dozens gathered demanding that judges alter the current laws, which can impose prison sanctions for women who get abortions.

Some parts of Latin America allow abortion such as Uruguay, Argentina, Guyana, French Guiana, Cuba and four states in Mexico.

However, some Latin American nations, such as El Salvador, still ban abortion and have previously sentenced women to around 40 years in prison for having abortions.

Women placing posters on fence during rally in El Salvador
Image: CNN

Latin America has had numerous high-profile cases surrounding abortion laws.

In El Salvador, Evelyn Hernández, a young rape survivor, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for ‘inducing an abortion’ and leaving the child for dead.

These charges were dropped in 2019 for insufficient evidence.

Women protesting during the Global Day of Action in Ecuador's capital, Quito.
Image: Reuters

The Hernández case is just one example of the injustice that women in Latin American are subjected to regarding abortion rights.

The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has ruled out any reform to abortion laws as part of the controversial constitutional changes planned by his government.

Morena Herrera, a Salvadoran feminist, said that such a move should not require constitutional reform:

“We are asking for minimum measures to add to the Penal Code to guarantee the life and integrity of women,” she said.