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In Latin Ameriaca, Abortion Is Still Illegal, Still Killing, Despite Growing Awareness
Although most of the governments in Latin America today are described as progressive, abortion is only legal in one country, while in five countries it is banned under all circumstances, even when the mother's life is at risk. Such laws have simply forced the practice underground, making unsafe abortions the second leading cause of maternal mortality in the region.
There are more than four million illegal abortions a year in the region, linked to over 4,000 avoidable deaths. And in some countries, like Argentina, there are nearly as many abortions as births.
In the view of some analysts, setbacks to or the lack of progress with respect to women's right to choice are the result of a fundamentalist offensive by the Catholic Church to keep Latin America a land free of abortions - legal ones, at least.
Rita Segato sees the negotiation over women's bodies in the criminalisation of abortion as linked to the problem of gender violence in the region, which is "huge" despite the fact that the Americas has the only continent-wide treaty on violence against women.