Pro-choice organizations provide a number of important services worldwide. While their work is important and necessary here in the states, it’s even more vital in Latin America, where abortion is often difficult to obtain and frequently illegal. Six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean expressly outlaw abortion, even in cases of incest, rape, and risk to the health and life of the pregnant person. Only four countries allow abortion in all cases (but even half of those—Cuba and Uruguay—require parental consent). So who, then, is working towards changing the laws in our home countries? And how can we support them? Reach out to the following reproductive rights organizations for more info on how we can all come together to ensure the right to choose is available to all who need it.
Red de Salud (otherwise known at the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network) is a network of over 550 organizations and more than 300 affiliates working together to improve access to reproductive rights. The organization focuses on a number of days of action, including May 17th (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia), May 28th (the International Day of Action for Women’s Health), and September 28 (International Safe Abortion Day).
Aside from having one of the most clever acronyms in reproductive rights, this Peruvian-based NGO works to educate young people on safe sex and their reproductive options, to prevent rape, to protect Peru’s LGBTQIA population, and to increase awareness of sex slavery and human trafficking. They also use political advocacy to promote changes to current anti-choice laws, as Peru currently outlaws abortion in all instances except to save the life of the pregnant person.
Located in Colombia, this organization is doing important work by supporting pregnant persons who seek abortion. Not only do they provide free pre and post-abortion literature that many women and others would find helpful, but if they’re able, they are also willing to accompany people on the day of their abortion. Their belief is that all who seek abortions should be able to do so from a position of safety. Currently, the law in Colombia only allows for abortions in cases of rape, incest, life-threatening fetal malformations, and to save the health or life of the mother.
Agrupacion Ciudadana por la Despenalizacion del Aborto Terapéutico Ético y Eugenésico (Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical and Eugenic Abortion)
This NGO is located in El Salvador, one of the few countries where abortion is illegal under all circumstances. The group works to spread awareness about the current laws and arms citizens with the knowledge of how to change those laws over time. They also provide legal defense of those accused of and/or convicted of obtaining an abortion and other related “crimes.” Considering some women are detained and often incarcerated for seeking medical care when experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth (over which they have no control), Agrupacion Ciudadana’s work is literally saving lives.
While Ipas is headquartered in North Carolina, this international NGO has chapters in Bolivia, Mexico, and Nicaragua, with the Nicaragua office servicing all of Central America. Because the laws are different in each of these countries, Ipas focuses on different types of work in each area. Ipas Bolivia mainly targets the grave issue of sexual violence across the nation, as well as training medical providers to better care for individuals experiencing miscarriage and induced abortion. Ipas Mexico advocates for better access to improved quality of abortion care throughout the country, while also training health-care workers, and assisting hospitals to procure important equipment for reproductive health. Ipas Central America mainly focuses on guaranteeing access to quality post-abortion care, including access to medical care providers who respect women’s reproductive rights.
Inroads is an organization that works to end abortion stigma worldwide. This network collaborates with members (individuals and other organizations) to reduce stigma through education, by providing tools for social scientists and activists (see their tools on measuring abortion stigma), and by providing funding for individuals and groups looking to do de-stigmatizing work at events around the world. While they don’t solely focus on Latin America only, they currently support over 130 members in Latin America working toward de-stigmatizing abortion in their communities.
El Fondo de Abortio para la Justicia Social MARIA (Mujeres, Aborto, Reproducción, Información, y Acompañamiento)
Fondo MARIA is the first ever abortion fund in Latin America, financially assisting pregnant persons in Mexico City to obtain abortion services. Their support doesn’t end at finances, however, and they also help with abortion care logistics and provide emotional support to those who may need it. They are members of the National Network of Abortion Funds of the United States, and fingers crossed, will eventually be one of many organizations assisting Latin America’s women to get abortions safely and legally.