US Abortion Ruling Sparks Global Debate, Polarizes Activists


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The end of constitutional abortion protections in the United States on Friday polarized activists around the world, emboldening abortion opponents even as abortion rights advocates feared that this threatens the recent moves towards legalization in their countries.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturns landmark Roe v. wade “shows that these kinds of rights are still at risk of being violated,” said Ruth Zurbriggen, an Argentine activist and member of the Companion Network of Latin America and the Caribbean, an abortion rights group.

But in El Salvador, anti-abortion activist Sara Larin has expressed hope that she will step up campaigns against the procedure around the world.

“I hope that with this decision it will be possible to abolish abortion in the United States and in the world,” said Larín, president of Fundación Vida SV.

In Kenya, Phonsina Archane watched the news of Friday’s decision and said she stood frozen for a while in a state of panic.

“It’s being done in America, which should be an example when it comes to the women’s rights movement,” 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.

She feared the ruling would embolden abortion opponents across Africa who have charged reproductive health clinics or threatened attacks. “There is no safe place on the continent,” she said.

Abortion in sub-Saharan Africa is already more dangerous than in any other region of the world, and the overwhelming majority of women of childbearing age live in countries with heavily or moderately restricted abortion laws, 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 protect themselves and women. Just a few months ago, many saw hope when the World Health Organization released guidelines on quality abortion care, she said: “We had a length of forward, and now we have to take five steps back.”

Meanwhile, the decision has lit up social media across Argentina, where a law legalizing elective abortion up to the 14th week of gestation came into force in January 2021 after years of debate.

Anti-abortion activists applauded Friday’s decision, with lawmaker Amalia Granata tweeting: “There is justice in the world again. We will also achieve this in Argentina! »

Meanwhile, in more conservative countries like El Salvador, where abortions are illegal under any circumstances and where some 180 women with obstetric emergencies have been criminally prosecuted over the past two decades, Larin warned that the decision could inspire even more efforts to loosen restrictions on abortion. Outside the United States

“Abortion advocacy campaigns are likely to intensify in our countries as funding and abortion clinics in the United States will close as they have in recent years,” she said.

The UN sexual and reproductive health agency says that whether abortion is legal or not, “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’s ruling noting that its 2022 report found that nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended and that more than 60% of these pregnancies can end in abortion.

“A staggering 45% of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, making it one of the leading causes of maternal death,” UNFPA said.

The agency said almost all unsafe abortions currently occur in developing countries, and it fears “more unsafe abortions will occur around the world if access to abortion becomes more restricted.” .

In the only part of Latin America directly affected by the decision, Puerto Rico, the island’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban abortions from 22 weeks, or when a doctor determines that a fetus is viable, with the only 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 prompted abortion rights activists to reframe their strategy.

“It causes a lot of uncertainty given the current environment in Puerto Rico,” she said. “This bill hurts poor women and black women the most. … They don’t have access to services like other social groups.


Anna reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press writers Almudena Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Marcos Alemán in San Salvador, El Salvador; Edith Lederer at the United Nations, France D’Emilio in Rome, and AP journalists around the world contributed to this report.


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