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In Latin America, Abortion Rights, Women’s Rights, Democracy Are Linked

The Conversation: In Latin America, is there a link between abortion rights and democracy?
Larissa Arroyo Navarrete, professor of human rights at the University of Costa Rica

“…Central America [is] home to three of the eight countries in the world with total abortion bans. … Why does this region so studiously avoid recognizing women as full individuals entitled to their own human rights? In my view, there’s a clear link in Latin America between the state of a country’s democracy and the reproductive rights of its female citizens. … [A]cross Central America the connection between the lack of rule of law and women’s restricted reproductive rights is noteworthy. That’s because denying women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies means that a woman’s life matters only to the extent that she is the custodian of a potential future life, rather than as a life worthy of protection. … What’s at risk in the Latin American regimes where abortion is still forbidden, then, are not only women’s lives but also the political systems of Central American society itself. Can democracy exist in places that don’t recognize women as people?” (10/10).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.