In March and early April, the abortion frontline in Latin America has been remarkably eventful, in positive ways. In Bolivia, the proposed revision of abortion law, which is part of the broader reform of the country’s Penal Code, ignited an intense public debate. More relevant yet, in El Salvador, where the criminalization of abortion is absolute, a debate has also begun at Congress level to reform this draconian legislation. In Argentina, the Belén case — of a woman convicted and sentenced to 8 years in jail after having a miscarriage — has also achieved a positive outcome. And, in Brazil, as reported by SPW, a first public debate on the lawsuit presented by PSOL and ANIS (ADPF 442) to the Supreme Court contesting the criminalization of abortion was held in Rio, and the first reactions to the petition on the part of state actors became public.
Yet the regional and global scenarios are not exempt from negative trends in this realm. In Brazil, as the debate on abortion rights gains an intensity not seen in recent years, a series of episodes of criminalization and violation of women’s human rights have occurred. In Uruguay — where in March a judge has unduly suspended an abortion procedure — MYSU reported that a young woman was sentenced to prison after giving birth in the bathroom of her house, unaware that she was even pregnant. In Angola, where access to abortion is limited to women’s life risk, the Penal Code is being reformed and lawmakers are seeking to further restricting access to the procedure (here and here).
In the same period, two grave cases of crackdowns against women’s rights activists have been registered worldwide. In Jamaica, activist Latoya Nugent was detained and charged for cybercrime under an anti-terrorist law, an action widely condemned by human rights groups and organizations. In Uganda, the feminist scholar Stella Nyanzi was arrested also on the basis of a cybercrime law after criticizing the Ugandan President and his wife on Facebook.
On the other hand, a number of positive news in the domain of trans and intersex peoples’ rights comes from Europe. Sweden will pay compensations to trans people for forcibly sterilizations that took place between 1972 and 2013. Concurrently, European Human Rights Court has considered the forced sterilization of trans persons as a human rights violation. In Portugal, the Council of Ministers sanctioned a new gender identity law that includes provisions in regard to violation of intersex children and persons (in Portuguese). This contrasts with the note issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) registering and condemning the alarming increase in the number of hate crimes and homicides against LGBT people in the region since January 2017.
The climate at the UN level is also far from smooth. The participation of activists at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was negatively affected by Trump’s selective travel bans for Islamic countries’ citizens. Furthermore, the substantive presence of anti-gender and anti-abortion NGOs, including as members of the US official delegation, has impacted on the debates. The hostile atmosphere and the effects it had on the final text were analyzed by LGBT and women’s networks (check SPW compilation of these assessments). The tensions in the negotiations were also reported by The Guardian.
Then, in the first week of April, the Trump administration formally announced that would suspend the financing to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). This decision, though predicted since when the Gag Rule was re-enacted in January, was criticized by the International Women’s Health Coalition and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Papers and articles
‘You are fired!’ Towards the Hegemony of Neoliberal Hypermasculinity – The disorder of things
Latin America’s Gender Ideology Explosion – Anthropology News
‘The War on Sex’ Edited by David M. Halperin and Trevor Hoppe
Gender-just laws versus “Divine” law in Sri Lanka – openDemocracy
Ukraine: sex work in times of war – openDemocracy
Publications and resources
Trans 101 – Gender diversity crash course
Punitive laws, key population size estimates, and Global AIDS Response Progress Reports: an ecological study of 154 countries – Sara LM Davis, William C Goedel, John Emerson, Brooke Skartvedt Guven
#PleasureOnPrEP: Words & Intimacy – Sexual Observer
The Personal is Political: Personal Experiences of Having an Abortion and Supporting Others to Have an Abortion – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
Very Like a War: Responding to Anti-Abortion Arguments – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
Abortion Law and Policy Reform News – Angola, Kenya, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay and a Poem from Ireland for World Poetry Day – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
Abortion Law and Policy Reform: Bolivia, El Salvador and Human Rights Council / Rights of the Child – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion – 28 March 2017
Abortion Law and Policy News: Namibia, Croatia, Malawi, Canada, UK, UN Special Rapporteur – International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
Check it out
Sexuality and Art