Latin America’s abortion access is expanding

“Aborto Legal Ya” graffiti photo taken in Salta Argentina. Thayne Tuason, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Christian Feuerstein

On May 2, Politico published a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that calls for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. If the Supreme Court does strike down Roe v. Wade, the legality of abortion services will be determined on a state-by-state basis. 

Cora Fernandez Anderson, assistant professor of politics at Mount Holyoke and advisor for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice certificate program, is an expert on sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America. She recently was on two radio programs to talk about how abortion access in Latin America is expanding, even as U.S. abortion access might be contracting. 

On WBUR’s show “On Point,” Anderson discussed the recent expansion of abortion access in Colombia. In February of 2022, the constitutional court ruled that abortion was legal on demand and without restrictions up to the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy. 

“You can see the change of attitudes toward this public opinion,” Anderson said. She pointed out that Argentina, the largest nation south of the U.S., legalized abortion in 2020. “It only took two more years and then abortion was legalized [in Colombia].”

Anderson also spoke to WAMU’s show “1A” about legal abortion in Latin America. As a native of Argentina, she was moved when abortion became legal there in 2020. “It was exciting to see after 15 years of struggle.”

Anderson said that activists keeping the issue in the public consciousness was key to overcoming the barriers to legal abortion in Argentina.

“There were activists who tried to legalize abortion … in the early 80s, but the campaign to legalize abortion … was launched in 2005. So it did take 15 years to [legalize abortion]. It was not easy. It was in 2018 that this bill finally entered the congressional agenda,” she said. “But at that moment, it entered because the movement gained so much growth and visibility; activists had already succeeded in making the conversation about abortion happen in every single household, in the media, in protests that were bringing millions of people in the streets.” 

Listen to “On Point” or “1A.” 

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