Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

Contributed by Angela Donadic


In the Center for Disease Controls’ latest issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a study was done comparing the reproductive health of women in Brownsville, Texas to women from Matamoros, Mexico.


The Brownsville-Matamoros Sister city Project for Women’s Health looked at unplanned pregnancies and prenatal care, among other reproductive health issues in both groups of women (to view the study, click here). 


An interesting finding was that almost half of the pregnancies of women living in both cities were unplanned, with about 30% of these pregnancies occurring in women younger than 20 years.  More surprising was that 40% of the unplanned pregnancies occurred in women who were using some form of birth control.


When comparing the two groups, researchers found that women in the Mexican city of Matamoros were more likely to receive counseling on contraception during their prenatal care visits, and more likely to be insured than the women living in Texas. However, women in Texas were more likely to have been tested for HIV and received a PAP test.


Despite the belief that the United States has the “best health care system in the world”, it appears that the benefits of our health care system are restricted to certain “privileged” groups… rarely including Latina immigrants, and low-income women.


The reality is that health insurance is a luxury that many Latina immigrants are unable to afford.  In fact about 56% of low-income Latina immigrants are uninsured in the U.S. 


As put by Brian Castrucci of the Texas Department of State Health Services who took part in the survey,

Almost every piece of reproductive health is based on planned pregnancies.  But we’re seeing this large percentage of folks who are having unplanned pregnancies.  So again there’s a great opportunity for binational collaboration around a topic that has some significant health impacts.

 Clearly with half of the 1,000 respondents having unintended pregnancies, more needs to be done to provide resources and education to women.


Contributed by Angela Donadic

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From Ipas press release:

Mexican Supreme Court upholds Mexico City abortion law by overwhelming majority

In what is being hailed as a landmark decision for women’s rights, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) upheld a law legalizing abortion in Mexico City through 12 weeks of pregnancy, rejecting a constitutional challenge. 

Eight justices voted against the claim, while only three voted in favor. The unexpected but overwhelming majority establishes the Mexico City law as “jurisprudence,” or protected from future judicial challenge. Thus the decision paves the way for other states to use the Mexico City law to modify their penal codes and decriminalize abortion.

Dr. Raffaela Schiavon, director of Ipas Mexico, applauded the verdict, “This is a historic decision for women’s rights, not just in Mexico City, not even just in Mexico, but for women all over Latin America.”

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Human Rights Watch just released a report documenting the number of deaths that have resulted from the Nicaraguan Abortion Ban, called Over Their Dead Bodies.

From the report:

Nicaragua is one of only three countries in the world to maintain a blanket ban on abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, or life- or health-threatening pregnancies.1Such blanket abortion bans are incompatible with international human rights obligations, including obligations on the rights to life, health, and non-discrimination. Their imposition can, and most often does, have serious effects on the lives and health of women and girls.

Nicaragua’s blanket ban on abortion was initially enacted in November 2006 and reaffirmed in September 2007, and includes a ban on previously-legal therapeutic abortions.2It allows for prison sentences for doctors who carry out abortions under any circumstances—even to save a pregnant woman’s life—and on women who seek abortions, again, regardless of the reason. Although it appears that actual prosecutions are rare, the ban has very real consequences that fall into three main categories:

Denial of access to life- or health-saving abortion services;
Denial or delay in access to other obstetric emergency care; and
A pronounced fear of seeking treatment for obstetric emergencies.

The net result has been avoidable deaths.

This ban is an appalling human rights violation. Thank you to everyone who sent an email as part of our online effort to stop this ban last spring (by far our largest participation rate ever)–it was unfortunately unsuccessful. According to WW4, hundreds of women marched in Managua on September 28 to protest the unnecessary deaths of over 80 women since the ban.

Via Feministing.

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